4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2016   
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MEDIA RELEASE
8 December 2016
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
135/2016

Unsentenced prisoners continue to rise

The number of people in Australian prisons has increased for the fifth consecutive year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

There were 38,845 prisoners on the night of 30 June 2016, representing an 8 per cent increase from the same time in 2015, and increases of 10 per cent and 7 per cent from the two previous years.

William Milne, ABS Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, said the increase in the Australian prisoner population over the past year was largely attributable to the increase in unsentenced prisoners - those who are confined to custody on remand while awaiting the outcome of their trial.

"While the numbers for both sentenced and unsentenced prisoners have continued to rise, the unsentenced population has grown at a faster rate," said Mr Milne.

"Ten years ago, one in five prisoners was unsentenced, whereas now, the unsentenced population has grown to account for one third of all prisoners."

Over half (55 per cent) of all unsentenced prisoners had an offence of either acts intended to cause injury (29 per cent), illicit drug offences (15 per cent) or unlawful entry with intent (11 per cent).

One in four unsentenced prisoners identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Further information, including state and territory data, can be found in Prisoners in Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4517.0), available for free download from the ABS website: http://www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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