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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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Contents >> Crime and Justice >> Prisioners

PRISONERS

The annual National Prisoner Census, conducted on the night of 30 June, counts all people who are in the legal custody of adult corrective services, including periodic detainees in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. At any given point in time, most prisoners are serving long sentences for relatively serious offences, but the flow of offenders in and out of prisons consists primarily of people serving short sentences for less serious offences.

At 30 June 2005, there were 25,353 prisoners (sentenced and unsentenced) in Australian prisons. This represented an imprisonment rate of 163 prisoners per 100,000 adult population. The median age of imprisonment for both men and women prisoners was 33 years.

Unsentenced prisoners comprised 20% (5,133) of the total prisoner population. Most (60% or 15,308) prisoners had served a sentence in an adult prison prior to the current episode.

Of the total prisoner population, 93% (23,619) were men and 7% (1,734) were women.

Acts intended to cause injury was the offence which accounted for the highest most serious offence/charge (17% or 4,334 prisoners) (table 11.37).


11.37 PRISONERS, Selected characteristics by most serious offence/charge - 30 June 2005
Units
Homicide
and
related
offences
Acts
intended
to cause
injury
Sexual
assault
and related
offences
Robbery,
extortion
and related
offences
Unlawful
entry
with
intent
Illicit
drug
offences
Other
offences(a)
Total

All prisonersno.
2,565
4,334
2,716
2,679
3,270
2,480
7,309
25,353
Malesno.
2,375
4,076
2,696
2,553
3,084
2,252
6,583
23,619
Femalesno.
190
258
20
126
186
228
726
1,734
Indigenousno.
371
1,809
551
518
810
72
1,525
5,656
Non-Indigenousno.
2,108
2,449
2,111
2,122
2,429
2,325
5,647
19,191
Unknownno.
86
76
54
39
31
83
137
506
Median age
Malesyears
37
31
42
28
29
37
32
33
Femalesyears
37
31
43
28
30
37
34
33
Indigenousyears
35
30
35
26
27
35
31
30
Non-Indigenousyears
38
31
44
29
30
37
33
34
Sentencedno.
2,037
3,006
2,361
2,175
2,543
2,020
6,078
20,220
Unsentencedno.
528
1,328
355
504
727
460
1,231
5,133
Prior imprisonment(b)no.
1,081
2,976
1,117
1,725
2,550
958
4,901
15,308
No prior imprisonment(b)no.
1,462
1,334
1,520
947
714
1,489
2,346
9,812
Unknown(b)no.
22
24
79
7
6
33
62
233

(a) Includes Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC) Divisions 04, 05, 08, 09 and 11 to 16.
(b) Refers to prior adult imprisonment under sentence.
Source: Prisoners in Australia, 2005 (4517.0).


The majority of prisoners (16,653 or 71% of men and 1,224 or 71% of women) were aged 20-39 years (chart 11.38).


11.38 PRISONERS - 30 June 2005 11.38 PRISONERS - 30 June 2005


There were 5,656 Indigenous prisoners at 30 June 2005, comprising 22% of the total prisoner population. In the period 2001-05, the proportion of Indigenous prisoners has gradually increased relative to the non-Indigenous prisoner population. At 30 June 2001 the proportion of Indigenous prisoners was 19.8%. This increased to 22% of the prisoner population at 30 June 2005.

Unsentenced prisoners include prisoners awaiting a court hearing or trial and convicted prisoners awaiting sentencing. At 30 June 2001 the proportion of unsentenced prisoners was 19.3%. This increased to 20.2% of the prisoner population at 30 June 2005. However there was a slight decline from the proportion at 30 June 2004 (20.4%).

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