Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002
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The most serious offence is the offence for which prisoners have received the longest sentence. Nearly half (47%) of all sentenced prisoners were convicted of offences involving violence or the threat of violence, including homicide (10%), assault (11%), sex offences (12%), and robbery (14%) (table 11.24). Some 12% were in prison for break and enter, while a further 10% were serving sentences for drug offences and 5% were convicted of driving offences.
Differences between men and women in the prison system extend beyond the fact that there were 16 male prisoners for every female prisoner. There were also some differences in the types of offences for which men and women were imprisoned, reflecting the differences in the patterns of offending between men and women. Graph 11.25 shows that the most common offences for males in 2000 were robbery (14%), sex offences (13%), break and enter (12%) and assault (11%). In the case of female prisoners, nearly half (48%) of the most serious offences were accounted for by drug offences (13%), robbery (13%), fraud and misappropriation (12%) and government security offences (10%).
Aggregate length of sentence is a measure of the sentences imposed on an offender, taking multiple offences into account. It is not measured for prisoners who receive an indeterminate type of sentence such as life, and periodic detainees' sentences are measured separately. At 30 June 2000 the average aggregate sentence of all prisoners was 4.8 years. Male prisoners were serving an average aggregate sentence of 4.9 years, compared to an average of 3.4 years for female prisoners.
Prisoners serving sentences of one year to less than five years accounted for the highest proportion of prisoners in all States and the Northern Territory (table 11.26). Prisoners with indeterminate sentences made up 5% of all prisoners.
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