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4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/04/2013  Reissue
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SENTENCED PRISONERS

There were 22,510 sentenced prisoners in Australian prisons at 30 June 2012, an increase of 1% (127 sentenced prisoners) from 30 June 2011 (22,383). (Table 2.2)


Most serious offence

Seven offences accounted for 83% of all sentenced prisoners: acts intended to cause injury (17%); sexual assault (14%); unlawful entry with intent (12%); illicit drug offences (11%); homicide; robbery and extortion; and offences against justice (10% each). (Table 2.6)


Sex

The number of sentenced males in prison increased by less than 1% (59) from 30 June 2011, while sentenced females increased by 5% (70) in the same period. At 30 June 2012, the most serious offence with the highest proportion of sentenced male prisoners was acts intended to cause injury (17%), followed by sexual assault (15%). The most serious offence with the highest proportion of female prisoners was illicit drugs (17%), followed by acts intended to cause injury (14%). (Table 2.8)





Aggregate sentence length

Of all sentenced prisoners, 5% (1,077) were serving a life term or other indeterminate sentence. Just over one quarter (26% or 5,941) of sentenced prisoners had an aggregate sentence length imposed ranging from two years to less than five years, while 22% (5,042) had an aggregate sentence length of between five years and under 10 years. Approximately 33% (7,450) of prisoners had an aggregate sentence length of less than two years. Periodic detainees accounted for less than 1% (63) of all sentenced prisoners.

Excluding prisoners with indeterminate and periodic detention sentences, the median aggregate sentence length for sentenced prisoners was three years and two months (38 months) in 2012, a decrease from three years and three months (39 months) in 2011. For information about interpreting mean and median sentence length based on a census 'snapshot' see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 76-78.

The longest median aggregate sentence lengths at 30 June 2012 were for homicide (approximately 14.6 years or 175 months), sexual assault (7 years or 84 months) and illicit drug offences (5.5 years or 66 months). (Table 2.9)


Expected time to serve

Expected time to serve refers to the time between date of reception for this episode and earliest date of release. One quarter (25%) of sentenced prisoners (5,644) had an expected time to serve between two and less than five years, while 20% of prisoners (4,402) had an expected time to serve between one and under two years.

Excluding prisoners with indeterminate, life without a minimum, and periodic detention sentences, the median expected time to serve for sentenced prisoners at 30 June 2012 was just under 2 years (23 months).

The median expected time to serve was highest for the offence of homicide (approximately 11 years or 135 months), followed by sexual assault (4.8 years or 57 months). (Table 2.9)


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