4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2015  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2015   
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Country of birth

At 30 June 2015:

    • Australian born prisoners accounted for four in every five prisoners (81% or 29,411 prisoners), whilst Australian born persons accounted for two-thirds (67%) of the Australian population aged 17 years and over.

    • Overseas born prisoners accounted for 18% of all prisoners (6,418 prisoners) and overseas born persons accounted for one-third (33%) of the Australian population aged 17 years and over. (Table 6 and unpublished data from ABS cat. no. 3101.0 Australian Demographic Statistics)

    • Victoria had the highest proportion of overseas born prisoners (25% or 1,551 prisoners). Of these, the most common country of birth was Vietnam (20% of overseas born prisoners or 313 prisoners). (Table 21)

From 2009 to 2015:

    • The number of prisoners born in New Zealand increased by 33% from 806 to 1,075 prisoners. The imprisonment rate for New Zealand born prisoners grew by 6% from 188 to 199 prisoners per 100,000 resident population born in New Zealand. (Table 21 and historical data)

    • The number of prisoners born in Indonesia increased by 468% from 77 prisoners in 2009 to a peak of 437 prisoners in 2011, before declining again to 40 prisoners in 2015. (Table 21 and historical data)

Graph Image for PRISONERS, selected country of birth

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes SARs and Taiwan province. (b) Includes Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Source(s): Prisoners in Australia



From 2009 to 2015, the most common offence/charge was:

    • For China, illicit drug offences, increasing from 42% of Chinese born prisoners in 2009 to 62% in 2015.

    • For Indonesia, immigration offences, increasing from 5% of Indonesian born prisoners in 2009 to a peak of 92% in 2011 and 2013, then declining to 23% in 2015.

    • For Vietnam, illicit drug offences, increasing from 50% of Vietnamese born prisoners in 2009 to 68% in 2015. (historical and unpublished data).