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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Crime and justice >> Prisoners

PRISONERS

The annual National Prisoner Census, conducted on the night of 30 June, counts all people who are in the legal custody of adult corrective services in adult prisons, including periodic detainees in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, but excluding persons held in juvenile institutions, psychiatric custody and police custody. At any given point in time, most prisoners are serving long sentences for relatively serious offences, but the flow of offenders in and out of prisons consists primarily of people serving short sentences for less serious offences.

At 30 June 2006, there were 25,790 prisoners (sentenced and unsentenced) in Australian prisons. This represented an imprisonment rate of 163 prisoners per 100,000 adult population. Of the total prisoner population, 93% (23,963) were men and 7% (1,827) were women (table 13.26).

Unsentenced prisoners include prisoners awaiting a court hearing or trial and convicted prisoners awaiting sentencing. Unsentenced prisoners comprised 22% (5,581) of the total prisoner population.

Most (57% or 14,676) prisoners (both sentenced and unsentenced) had served time in an adult prison prior to the current episode.

Acts intended to cause injury was the most serious offence/charge which accounted for the largest proportion of prisoners (18% or 4,630 prisoners).

13.26 PRISONERS(a), Selected characteristics by most serious offence/charge - 30 June 2006

Homicide and related offences
Acts intended to cause injury
Sexual assault and related offences
Robbery, extortion and related offences
Unlawful entry with intent
Illicit drug offences
Other offences(b)
Total

All prisoners no.
2 584
4 630
2 939
2 598
3 095
2 516
7 428
25 790
Males no.
2 389
4 327
2 913
2 469
2 909
2 267
6 689
23 963
Females no.
195
303
26
129
186
249
739
1 827
Indigenous no.
396
1 937
597
534
835
84
1 708
6 091
Non-Indigenous no.
2 164
2 645
2 331
2 032
2 247
2 398
5 653
19 470
Unknown no.
24
48
11
32
13
34
67
229
Median age
Males years
37
31
42
29
30
37
32
33
Females years
37
31
43
28
30
37
34
33
Indigenous years
36
30
35
27
27
35
31
31
Non-Indigenous years
38
31
45
30
30
37
33
34
Sentenced no.
2 067
3 016
2 514
2 044
2 424
2 056
6 088
20 209
Unsentenced no.
517
1 614
425
554
671
460
1 340
5 581
Prior imprisonment(c) no.
1 080
2 848
1 138
1 643
2 291
904
4 772
14 676
No prior imprisonment(c) no.
1 504
1 781
1 798
955
803
1 611
2 654
11 106
Unknown(c) no.
-
1
3
-
1
1
2
8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) The data presented in this table have been confidentialised to prevent identification of individuals.
(b) Includes Australian Standard Offence Classification Divisions 04, 05, 08, 09 and 11 to 16.
(c) Refers to prior adult imprisonment under sentence.
Source: Prisoners in Australia (4517.0).


The median age of for both men and women prisoners was 33 years.

The majority of prisoners (16,645 or 70% of men and 1,304 or 72% of women) were aged 20-39 years (graph 13.27).

13.27 Prisoners - 30 June 2006
Graph: 13.27 Prisoners—30 June 2006

There were 6,091 Indigenous prisoners at 30 June 2006, comprising 24% of the total prisoner population. The age-standardised Indigenous imprisonment rate was 1,668 per 100,000 adult Indigenous population, 13 times more than the non-Indigenous rate (130 per 100,000 adult non-Indigenous population).




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