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4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Jun 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/09/2008   
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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY

INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT

The management of persons held in adult corrective services custody or who are serving adult community-based orders in Australia is the responsibility of state and territory corrective services agencies. Information on these persons is recorded by the corrective services agency for operational and case management purposes. Corrective services 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 Australian Government Attorney-General's Department for details on federal offenders.

Corrective Services statistics are produced by the National Corrective Services Statistics Unit (NCSSU) of the ABS. The NCSSU functions under an intergovernmental agreement between the ABS, the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department and each of the Australian State and Territory Corrective Services agencies. One of the major functions of the Unit is:

  • to compile, analyse publish and disseminate uniform national corrective services statistics, subject to the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


    RELEVANCE

    Corrective Services, Australia(cat. no. 4512.0) presents information on all persons remanded or sentenced to adult corrective services custody or who are serving adult community-based orders. Comparable statistics are provided for each of the states and territories and Australia: on prisoner numbers, including federal prisoners and imprisonment rates by type of custody; prisoner numbers by legal status; the number of sentenced receptions into custody; and the numbers and rates of persons serving community-based corrections orders. Limited demographic information is available including information about Indigenous people in corrective services. Persons who are held in police lockups, police prisons and cells in court complexes not administered and controlled by corrective services agencies, are not included. Also excluded are persons held in juvenile detention centres, immigration detention centres and military prisons.


    TIMELINESS

    The Corrective Services publication is released quarterly, within 12 weeks of the reference period. Each quarterly release includes monthly data for the quarter; quarterly data for five quarters; and annual data for three years.


    ACCURACY

    In order to ensure consistency in the data for each state and territory, corrective services statistics are compiled according to national standards and classifications. However, some discrepancies remain between jurisdictions due to state and territory legislative and procedural differences between jurisdictions and the way that these differences are reflected in agencies' administrative data systems.

    In all states and territories, except Queensland, a person is considered an adult if aged 18 years and over. In Queensland a person is considered an adult if aged 17 years and over.

    Statistics for persons held in custody are presented by the state or territory in which they were held, and this may not be the state or territory in which they were sentenced.

    Revisions to data are made when new information about the comparability of data over time is identified. This may occur when errors or omissions are identified in the administrative data supplied to the ABS in prior periods.

    Experimental data on the Indigenous status of persons in community-based corrections are also included in an Appendix to the publication. An initial evaluation of the quality of Indigenous identification in community-based corrections has highlighted that currently no state or territory is fully complying with the ABS Standard Indigenous Question and therefore, care should be taken when referring to this data.


    COHERENCE

    Statistics presented are compiled in three ways:
  • Average daily prisoner population: Counts taken on each day of the month are summed and divided by the number of days in that month.
  • Sentenced receptions: Counts for each month of the number of receptions where a prisoner is received as a sentenced prisoner.
  • First day of the month population: Counts of prisoners and persons serving community-based corrections orders, taken on or near the first day of the month.

    Due to differing scope and counting rules the data in the Corrective Services publication may not be comparable to data published in other national and state/territory publications.

    A number of legislative and administrative system changes have occurred over time and the statistical impact of these changes is detailed in the Explanatory Notes. Changes to the number and classification of the various correctional facilities can also have an impact on the data and these are also discussed in detail in the Explanatory Notes.


    INTERPRETABILITY

    Imprisonment rates and community-based corrections rates are included in the publication. These enable comparisons of prisoner numbers to be made across states and territories. These rates are calculated using the most current estimated resident population for each of the states and territories at the time of publication.

    Detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and Glossary also provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.


    ACCESSIBILITY

    If the information you require is not available from the publication, then the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics may be able to help you with a customised service to suit your needs. Email: <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>

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