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4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2011 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2011   
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SENTENCED PRISONERS

There were 22,383 sentenced prisoners in Australian prisons at 30 June 2011, a decrease of 4% (950 sentenced prisoners) from 30 June 2010 (23,333). (Table 2.2)


Most serious offence

Seven offences accounted for 83% of all sentenced prisoners: acts intended to cause injury (16%); sexual assault (14%); unlawful entry with intent (11%); illicit drug offences (11%); homicide; robbery and extortion; and offences against justice (10% each). (Table 2.6)


Sex

The number of sentenced males in prison decreased by 749 (3%) from 30 June 2010, while sentenced females decreased by 199 (12%) in the same period. At 30 June 2011, the most serious offence with the highest proportion of sentenced male prisoners was acts intended to cause injury (16%), followed by sexual assault (15%). For sentenced female prisoners, the most serious offence with the highest proportion was illicit drugs (17%), followed by acts intended to cause injury (14%). (Table 2.8)

Sentenced prisoners, selected most serious offence, by sex
Graph: Sentenced prisoners, selected most serious offence, by sex



Aggregate sentence length

Of all sentenced prisoners, 5% (1,130) were serving a life term or other indeterminate sentence. Just over one quarter (26% or 5,860) of sentenced prisoners had an aggregate sentence length imposed ranging from 2 years to less than 5 years, while 22% (5,011) had an aggregate sentence length of between 5 years and under 10 years. Approximately 33% (7,287) of prisoners had an aggregate sentence length of less than 2 years. Periodic detainees accounted for less than 1% (171) of all sentenced prisoners.

Excluding prisoners with indeterminate and periodic detention sentences, the median aggregate sentence length for sentenced prisoners was 3 years and 3 months (39 months) in 2011, an increase from 3 years (36 months) in 2010. For information about interpreting mean and median sentence length based on a census 'snapshot' see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 76-78.

The longest median aggregate sentence lengths at 30 June 2011 were for homicide (approximately 15 years or 180 months), miscellaneous offences (9 years or 108 months) and sexual assault (7 years or 84 months). (Table 2.9)


Expected time to serve

Expected time to serve takes into account the earliest date of release for sentenced prisoners. One quarter (25%) of sentenced prisoners (5,647) had an expected time to serve between 2 and less than 5 years, while 19% of prisoners (4,188) had an expected time to serve between 5 and under 15 years.

Excluding prisoners with indeterminate, life without a minimum, and periodic detention sentences, the median expected time to serve for sentenced prisoners at 30 June 2011 was 2 years (24 months), remaining unchanged since 2010.

The median expected time to serve was highest for the offence of homicide (11 years or 134 months), followed by miscellaneous offences (5.4 years or 65 months) and sexual assault (4.8 years or 57 months). (Refer to Appendix 1 and the Glossary for offences included in the miscellaneous offences). (Table 2.9)

Sentenced prisoners, median sentence length by selected most serious offence(a)
Graph: Sentenced prisoners, median sentence length by selected most serious offence(a)






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