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4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Dec 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2004   
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NOTES

ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents information on persons in custody and community-based corrections. The statistics are derived from information provided to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from administrative records held by corrective services agencies in each state and territory, and from the Federal Attorney-General's Department for details on federal prisoners. Details are provided for each state and territory on numbers and imprisonment rates by type of custody (i.e. open or secure custody or periodic detention). Information is also presented on prisoner numbers by legal status (sentenced or unsentenced) and by sentence type, for all prisoners and for Indigenous prisoners, together with the number of sentenced receptions into custody and the number of federal prisoners.

The ABS acknowledges the valuable contribution of the Board of Management, the Advisory Group of the National Corrective Services Statistics Unit and the staff of the various agencies that provide the statistics that are presented in this publication.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

Significant events are described in paragraphs 26-30 of the Explanatory Notes.

FURTHER INFORMATION

More information about ABS activities in the field of Crime and Justice statistics is available from the Crime and Justice theme page on the ABS web site. To access the theme page, select Themes from the menu on the home page. Details of other ABS publications relating to Crime and Justice statistics can be found in paragraph 31 of the Explanatory Notes.

Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact Nick Skondreas on Melbourne (03) 9615 7381 or the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

NUMBER OF PRISONERS

PERSONS IN PRISON CUSTODY, Average daily number per month
Graph: persons in prison custody, Average daily number per month


In the December quarter 2003, the average daily number of prisoners in Australia was 22,878, an increase of 143 (less than 1%) on the September quarter 2003. The average daily number of prisoners in Australia increased by 867 (4%) over the year from the December quarter 2002.

RATES PER 100,000 ADULTS
AVERAGE DAILY IMPRISONMENT RATE(a)
Graph: AVERAGE DAILY IMPRISONMENT RATE(a)


Nationally, the average daily imprisonment rate was 151 prisoners per 100,000 adult population during the December quarter 2003, an increase of 3% since the December quarter 2002. The Northern Territory had the highest imprisonment rate (521 prisoners per 100,000 adult population), followed by Western Australia (201) and Queensland (182). The Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) and Victoria had the lowest imprisonment rates (73 and 98 prisoners per 100,000 adults respectively). New South Wales recorded a 4% increase in the imprisonment rate since the December quarter 2002. Decreases in imprisonment rates were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners in New South Wales prisons) and Tasmania of 11% and 3% respectively during this period.

SEX

Of the average daily number of prisoners in Australia in the December quarter 2003, 21,389 (93%) were male and 1,489 (7%) were female. Males were 15 times more likely to be in prison than females.

INDIGENOUS PRISONERS
INDIGENOUS PERSONS IMPRISONMENT RATE (a)
Graph: INDIGENOUS PERSONS IMPRISONMENT RATE (a)


The national rate of imprisonment for Indigenous persons in the December quarter 2003 was 1,972 per 100,000 adult Indigenous population, an increase of 5% since the December quarter 2002 and an increase of 3% since the September quarter 2003.
INDIGENOUS IMPRISONMENT RATE(a)
Graph: INDIGENOUS IMPRISONMENT RATE(a)


The highest rate of imprisonment for Indigenous persons was recorded in Western Australia (2,960 Indigenous persons per 100,000 adult Indigenous population) followed by New South Wales (2,188). Over the past quarter South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory recorded increases in the Indigenous rates of imprisonment (6%, 5% and 4% respectively).

Western Australia recorded the highest proportional increase in the Indigenous rate of imprisonment (12%) between the December quarters 2002 and 2003, followed by the Northern Territory (10%) and Victoria (10%). Over the twelve month period from the December quarter 2002, Tasmania and South Australia recorded decreases in the Indigenous rates of imprisonment of 8% and 2% respectively.

Nationally, the Indigenous rate of imprisonment was 16 times the non-Indigenous rate of imprisonment. The highest ratio of Indigenous to non-Indigenous rates of imprisonment was recorded in Western Australia where the Indigenous rate of imprisonment was 22 times the non-Indigenous rate.

TYPE OF CUSTODY

In the December quarter 2003, the average daily number of prisoners in secure prison custody was 16,474 (72%). The remaining prisoners were held in open prison custody. Nationally, the proportion of persons held in secure and open prison custody has remained fairly stable over the past year.

In the December quarter 2003, the highest proportions of prisoners held in secure custody were recorded in Victoria (89%) and South Australia (88%). The states and territories with the lowest proportions of prisoners in secure prison custody were the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) and New South Wales (48% and 54% respectively).

LEGAL STATUS AND SENTENCE TYPE

Of the total prison population of 22,988, the average number of unsentenced prisoners on the first day of the month was 4,851 (21%) for the December quarter 2003. The Australian Capital Territory - including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons - had the highest proportion of unsentenced prisoners (34%). The lowest proportion of unsentenced prisoners was recorded in Western Australia (15%).
PERSONS IN PRISON CUSTODY, Proportion unsentenced per month
Graph: Persons in prison custody, Proportion unsentenced per month


Based on annual figures, the number of unsentenced prisoners has increased by 8% between 2002 and 2003. In contrast, the number of sentenced prisoners has increased by 3% between 2002 and 2003. The proportion of unsentenced prisoners has remained constant between 2002 and 2003.

SENTENCED RECEPTIONS

In the December quarter 2003, there were 5,973 sentenced receptions in Australia. The number of sentenced receptions decreased by 572 (9%) compared with the December quarter 2002. Decreases in sentenced receptions between the December quarters 2002 and 2003 were recorded by all jurisdictions except the Northern Territory which recorded an increase of 29 (12%). Between the September and December quarters 2003, the number of sentenced receptions decreased in South Australia (18%), Western Australia (8%), Tasmania(8%) and Victoria (5%). New South Wales, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory recorded increases in sentenced receptions in this period.

PERIODIC DETENTION

Periodic detention is a form of custody only used in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. During the December quarter 2003 there was an average daily number of 757 persons in New South Wales and 81 persons in the Australian Capital Territory held in periodic detention. While the rate of imprisonment in periodic detention in New South Wales decreased by 16% between the December quarters 2002 and 2003 it increased by 8% in the Australian Capital Territory during the same period. As at the December quarter 2003, 9% of persons in custody in New South Wales were in periodic detention. In contrast, for the same period, 31% of Australian Capital Territory persons in custody were in period detention

FEDERAL PRISONERS

In the December quarter 2003, there were 669 federal prisoners in Australia, a decrease of 73 (10%) since the December quarter 2002. The Northern Territory and Western Australia had the largest decreases in federal prisoners (70% and 30% respectively). However, federal prisoners in Queensland increased from 77 to 89 between December quarter 2002 and 2003.

PERSONS IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS

In the December quarter 2003, there were 50,541 persons in community-based corrections in Australia, a decrease of 2,322 (4%) since the December quarter 2002. However, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory recorded increases in persons in community-based corrections between December quarter 2002 and December quarter 2003 (10%, 10% and 8%).

Rates per 100,000 adults

Nationally, the rate of persons in community-based corrections was 332 persons per 100,000 adult population for the December quarter 2003. This is a decrease of 6% on the rate of persons in community-based corrections in the December quarter 2002, and unchanged since the September quarter 2003.

In the December quarter 2003, the male rate of participation in community-based corrections was 550 per 100,000 adult male population in comparison to 117 females per 100,000 adult female population. Males were five times more likely to be in community-based corrections than females.
COMMUNITY–BASED CORRECTIONS RATE (a)
Graph: COMMUNITY–BASED CORRECTIONS RATE (a)


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