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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Contents >> Crime and justice >> Prisoners

The National Prisoner Census, conducted annually on the night of 30 June, counts all persons 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 persons serving short sentences for less serious offences.

The total prison population on 30 June 2003 was 23,555. New South Wales had the highest proportion of prisoners (38%), followed by Queensland (22%).


11.29 PRISONERS, By states and territories - 30 June 2003

NSW(a)
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT in ACT
ACT in NSW(a)
ACT total
Aust.(b)

NUMBER

All prisoners
8,881
3,763
5,243
1,455
2,899
453
729
132
117
249
23,555
Males
8,289
3,482
4,895
1,352
2,681
429
707
126
111
237
21,961
Females
592
281
348
103
218
24
22
6
6
12
1,594
Indigenous
1,563
174
1,210
244
1,107
53
571
4
12
16
4,818
Non-Indigenous
7,099
3,589
4,033
1,049
1,882
400
158
128
105
233
18,356
Unknown
219
-
-
162
-
-
-
-
-
-
381
Sentenced
7,044
3,068
4,153
983
2,447
355
612
76
117
193
18,738
Unsentenced
1,837
695
1,090
472
452
98
117
56
-
56
4,817

PROPORTION (%)

All prisoners
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Males
93.3
92.5
93.4
92.9
92.5
94.7
97.0
95.5
94.9
95.2
93.2
Females
6.7
7.5
6.6
7.1
7.5
5.3
3.0
4.5
5.1
4.8
6.8
Indigenous
17.6
4.6
23.1
16.8
35.1
11.7
78.3
3.0
10.3
6.4
20.5
Non-Indigenous
79.6
95.4
76.9
72.1
64.9
88.3
21.7
97.0
89.7
93.6
77.9
Unknown
2.5
-
-
11.1
-
-
-
-
-
-
1.6
Sentenced
79.3
81.5
79.2
67.6
84.4
78.4
84.0
57.6
100.0
77.5
79.5
Unsentenced
20.7
18.5
20.8
32.4
15.6
21.6
16.0
42.4
-
22.5
20.5

(a) The majority of full-time prisoners sentenced in the ACT are held in NSW prisons.
(b) The ACT in NSW figures are a subset of the NSW figures, and are not separately counted in the Australian totals.

Source: Prisoners in Australia, 2003 (4517.0).


There were 21,961 male prisoners at 30 June 2003, comprising 93% of the total prisoner population (table 11.29). The median age of prisoners was 32 years for males and 31 years for females. The majority of prisoners were young adult males, with 55% (12,841) of all prisoners being males aged 20-34 years (graph 11.30).

Graph 11.30: PRISONERS, By age group - 30 June 2003



There were 4,818 Indigenous prisoners (21% of the prisoner population) on 30 June 2003. Over the past decade, Indigenous prisoners have accounted for an increasing proportion of the total prisoner population (graph 11.31).

Graph 11.31: PROPORTION OF PRISONERS WHO ARE INDIGENOUS(a)



Unsentenced prisoners include unconvicted prisoners awaiting a court hearing or trial and convicted prisoners awaiting sentencing. At 30 June 2003, one in five (20%) of the total prisoner population were unsentenced prisoners. Over the past 10 years, unsentenced prisoners have accounted for an increasing number and proportion of the total prisoner population. The proportion of prisoners who were unsentenced increased from 12% in 1993 to 21% in 2003 (graph 11.32).

Graph 11.32: PROPORTION OF UNSENTENCED PRISONERS


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