4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2015  
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Prisoner characteristics, Australia

Snapshot

At 30 June 2015:

    • There were 36,134 prisoners in Australian prisons, an increase of 7% (2,345 prisoners) from 30 June 2014. (Table 14)

    • The national imprisonment rate was 196 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, a 6% increase from 186 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2014. (Table 2)

    • Nearly three-quarters of prisoners (72% or 26,163 prisoners) were under sentence, whilst over a quarter (27% or 9,898 prisoners) were unsentenced.

    • The most common offences/charges for prisoners were:

      – Acts intended to cause injury (21%)

      – Illicit drug offences (13%)

      – Sexual assault and unlawful entry with intent (both 11%). (Table 1)

    • Acts intended to cause injury was the most common offence/charge across all states and territories. The proportion of prisoners with this offence/charge ranged from 17% (1,050 prisoners) in Victoria to 47% (755 prisoners) in the Northern Territory. (Table 15)

    • The offence/charge with the largest increase in prisoners was illicit drug offences, up 17% or 699 prisoners. The states and territories which contributed most to the increase were New South Wales (16% or 264 prisoners) and Queensland (16% or 114 prisoners). (Table 15 and historical data)

    • Males accounted for 92% of all prisoners (33,256 prisoners) whilst women accounted for 8% (2,876 prisoners). Males accounted for over 90% of all adult prisoners across all the states and territories. (Table 13)

Graph Image for PERCENTAGE MOVEMENT FROM 30 JUNE 2014 TO 30 JUNE 2015, selected prisoner characteristics

Footnote(s): (a) Prior adult imprisonment under sentence.

Source(s): Prisoners in Australia



Graph Image for CHANGE IN PRISONER NUMBERS FROM 30 JUNE 2014 TO 30 JUNE 2015, selected prisoner characteristics

Footnote(s): (a) Prior adult imprisonment under sentence.

Source(s): Prisoners in Australia


    • The adult prisoner population increased across all states and territories since 30 June 2014. New South Wales experienced the largest increase in prisoner numbers (12% or 1,230 prisoners) followed by Western Australia (6% or 314 prisoners). (Table 14)

    • New South Wales had the largest adult prisoner population, comprising one-third (33% or 11,797 prisoners) of the total Australian adult prisoner population, followed by Queensland (20% or 7,318 prisoners) and Victoria (17% or 6,219 prisoners). (Table 13)

    • The Northern Territory had the highest imprisonment rate (885 prisoners per 100,000 adult population) whilst Tasmania had the lowest imprisonment rate (130 prisoners per 100,000 adult population). (Table 16)

    • Imprisonment rates reached their highest since 2005 in: Queensland (198 prisoners per 100,000 adult population); South Australia (204 prisoners per 100,000 adult population); Western Australia (278 prisoners per 100,000 adult population); the Northern Territory (885 prisoners per 100,000 adult population); and the Australian Capital Territory (131 prisoners per 100,000 adult population). (Table 18)
Graph Image for PRISONERS, States and territories

Source(s): Prisoners in Australia



Graph Image for IMPRISONMENT RATE(a), States and territories

Footnote(s): (a) Rate per 100,000 adult population. See Explanatory Notes paragraphs 54–57 and 59–62.

Source(s): Prisoners in Australia

    • At least half the prisoners in all states and territories, except for South Australia, were recorded as having had prior adult imprisonment under sentence. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of prisoners with prior imprisonment (75% or 296 prisoners) followed by the Northern Territory (72% or 1,153 prisoners). The prior imprisonment rate in South Australia was 49%. (Table 13)