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1387.3 - Queensland in Review, 2003  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/03/2004  Ceased
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PRISONERS

Imprisonment is the most severe social response to crime in Australia. Other correctional actions that can be applied are non-custodial, such as fines, probation orders, release on parole and community service orders.

Many factors, other than crime levels, affect the number of people in prisons, detention centres and other custodial facilities. These include the attitude of those involved in the court process and prison capacity as well as policing success and policy. The judiciary's use of diversionary sentencing options (e.g. fines) reduces the number of persons sent to prison, whereas they are boosted by defendants held in custody pending court hearings (remandees).

The ABS annually gathers administrative data from each state and territory to form a National Prisoner Census of adults held in Australian prisons on the night of 30 June, published in Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0). Less detailed data is provided more regularly by the corrective service agencies, and published each quarter in Corrective Services (cat. no. 4512.0)


PRISONERS IN QUEENSLAND, 30 JUNE 2001

The statistics presented here refer to all persons who were in custody in adult prisons on 30 June of each year. In Queensland, adult prisoners are aged 17 years and over.

This article is based on data from the annual National Prisoner Census, which provides a snapshot of the characteristics of persons in prisons at a point in time. It should be noted that the composition of prisoners at any date consists of many long-term prisoners, and is not representative of the flow of the many short-term prisoners in and out of prisons during the year. For example, the figures below do not provide information about the 6,659 persons who were received into custody in Queensland during 2001, but rather describe the 4,517 people who were prisoners on one date, 30 June 2001, many of whom had begun their prison stay prior to 2001. Refer to Corrective Services (cat. no. 4512.0).


NUMBER OF PRISONERS, QUEENSLAND,
30 June 1991-2001
IMPRISONMENT RATE PER 100,000 ADULT POPULATION, QUEENSLAND

Source: Prisoners in Australia, 30 June 2001
(cat. no. 4517.0).

Source: Prisoners in Australia, 30 June 2001
(cat. no. 4517.0).


There were 4,517 adult prisoners in Queensland on 30 June 2001 - only New South Wales had a larger prisoner population. This was more than twice the 2,094 prisoners on 30 June 1991. The median length of sentence for these prisoners in 2001 was 4.0 years, compared to the Australian median of 3.3 years. The percentage of Queensland prisoners in 2001 who were on remand was 20.1%, compared to 9.5% in 1991. (Remand prisoners include unconvicted prisoners awaiting a court hearing, convicted prisoners awaiting sentencing and persons awaiting deportation.)

The imprisonment rate is the number of people in prison relative to the total adult population. During the decade to 2001, the imprisonment rate in Queensland was lowest in 1993, at 88 adult prisoners per 100,000 adults. It had climbed to twice that rate at its peak in 1999 (177), before dropping back to 163 at 30 June 2001. The much higher Indigenous rates also peaked in 1999, at 1,765 adult prisoners per 100,000 adult indigenous population.

The imprisonment rate in other states and territories ranged from 90 (Victoria) to 511 (Northern Territory) adult prisoners per 100,000 adults.

On 30 June 2001, only 6% of prisoners in Queensland were female and the imprisonment rate for females was 21, much lower than that for males at 309 per 100,000 adults.

RATE OF IMPRISONMENT PER 100,000 ADULT POPULATION, 30 June 2001


NSW(a)
Vic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

NT

Aust
Males
330.9
170.9
308.5
228.1
405.0
187.4
934.5
284.5
Females
24.3
12.9
20.8
13.2
29.9
10.8
28.9
19.8
Indigenous
1,970.9
1,060.3
1,724.4
1,651.7
3,036.1
417.7
1,356.5
1,828.5
Non-indigenous
149.2
86.5
125.0
88.6
147.6
87.7
244.3
121.1
All prisoners
175.6
90.4
163.4
118.4
217.6
96.5
510.5
150.5

(a) A majority of full-time prisoners sentenced in the ACT are held in NSW prisons. ACT figures are not included separately in this table, although included in the total for Australia.
Source: Prisoners in Australia, 30 June 2001 (cat. no. 4517.0).

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