4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2017   
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Country of birth

At 30 June 2017:
  • Australian born prisoners accounted for four in every five prisoners (81% or 33,573 prisoners).
  • Overseas born prisoners accounted for 18% of all prisoners (7,294 prisoners) and overseas born persons accounted for just over one-third (35%) of the Australian population aged 17 years and over. (Table 22 and unpublished data from ABS cat. no. 3101.0 Australian Demographic Statistics)
  • Victoria had the highest proportion of overseas born prisoners (26% or 1,847 prisoners). Of these, the most common country of birth was Vietnam (20% of overseas born prisoners or 374 prisoners).

From 2009 to 2017, for overseas born prisoners:
  • Prisoners born in New Zealand have increased by 50% (806 to 1,208 prisoners), while the imprisonment rate for New Zealand born prisoners also grew over this time, increasing 20% from 188 to 225 prisoners per 100,000 resident population born in New Zealand. (Table 22 and historical data)

Graph Image for PRISONERS, Selected country of birth, 30 June 2009 to 30 June 2017

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

Source(s): Prisoners in Australia



In relation to the three most common offences as at 30 June 2017:
  • Acts intended to cause injury was the most common offence for prisoners born in New Zealand and Sudan, representing 24% and 38% of these populations respectively.
  • Illicit drug offences was the most common offence for prisoners born in Hong Kong (80%), Vietnam (72%), China (63%) and Malaysia (62%).
  • Sexual assault was the most common offence for prisoners born in the United Kingdom, representing 28% of all prisoners born in the United Kingdom. (Table 7)