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4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/06/2013  Reissue
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This summary presents statistics about prisoners and parolees serving sentences for at least one federal offence as at 30 June 2012, for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The Federal Offender collection provides a more complete picture of corrective services in Australia by identifying those prisoners who are sentenced to imprisonment, or are on parole, for federal offences but are being managed by state and territory corrective service agencies.

The federal prisoners component of the Federal Offender collection is a subset of the Prisoner Census collection. It consists of all adult offenders in custody in an adult correctional institution as a sentenced prisoner with at least one offence against Commonwealth/Federal legislation, in the current episode. The current episode for an offender refers to a continuous period of imprisonment that is current at 30 June of the collection year. The current episode for a federal offender may contain only federal offences or a combination of both state and federal offences, however for this collection, only the federal offences are in scope. In addition the Federal Offenders collection also includes data about federal prisoners on parole (in the community) with at least one offence against Commonwealth/Federal legislation, in the current episode.

The scope of this collection differs to that of the ABS Prisoner Census collection. The Prisoner Census includes all prisoners, both sentenced and unsentenced, with either state offences, federal offences or a combination of both. It excludes parolees.

Graphic: Population in scope for Federal Offenders.


Data was collected about federal prisoners for the following jurisdictions; New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory. Data was collected about federal parolees for the following jurisdictions: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory.

A federal prisoner is a person sentenced to a custodial order after pleading guilty or after being found guilty of a federal offence by a criminal court.

FEDERAL PRISONERS, State and territory, 2012


n.p. - not published

A federal parolee is a person serving parole in the community under the authority of a Corrective Services agency, in relation to at least one federal offence.

FEDERAL PAROLEES, State and territory, 2012


n.p. - not published

As the federal prisoner data for Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory and the federal parolee data for Northern Territory had small numbers data from these jurisdictions have not been included in the analysis below.

Federal Offenders Snapshot

  • A majority of federal offenders (87%) were male;
  • The most common age category for federal offenders was 35-39 years (15%);
  • A majority of federal offenders (97%) were of non-Indigenous status;
  • The most common country of birth for federal offenders was Australia (36%);
  • The most common federal offences were: Illicit drug offences; offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations; child pornography offences; and fraud, deception and related offences;
  • Most federal prisoners (41%) had an aggregate sentence length of 5 to under 10 years;
  • For the federal parolee population, the most common order length was 2 to under 3 years (34%), with 88% having an order length of 2 to under 6 years.

The federal offender data presented in this chapter have been compared against characteristics of the total prisoner population of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory, presented in the previous chapters of Prisoners in Australia, 2012 (

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