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4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/12/2010   
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SENTENCED PRISONERS

There were 23,333 sentenced prisoners in Australian prisons at 30 June 2010, an increase of 2% (409 sentenced prisoners) from 30 June 2009 (22,924). (Table 2.2)


Most serious offence

Seven offences accounted for 82% of all sentenced prisoners: acts intended to cause injury (17%); sexual assault (14%); unlawful entry with intent (12%); illicit drug offences; homicide; robbery and extortion; and offences against justice (10% each). (Table 2.5)


Sex

The number of sentenced males in prison increased by 275 (1%) from 30 June 2009, while sentenced females increased by 134 (8%) in the same period. At 30 June 2010, the most serious offence with the highest proportion of sentenced male prisoners was acts intended to cause injury (17%), followed by sexual assault (14%). For sentenced female prisoners, the most serious offence with the highest proportion was illicit drugs (17%), followed by acts intended to cause injury (15%). (Table 2.7)

Sentenced prisoners, selected most serious offence, by sex
Graph: Sentenced prisoners, selected most serious offence, by sex



Aggregate sentence length

Of all sentenced prisoners, 4% (913) were serving a life term or other indeterminate sentence. Just over one quarter (26% or 6,047) of sentenced prisoners had an aggregate sentence length imposed ranging from 2 years to less than 5 years, while 21% (4,908) had an aggregate sentence length of between 5 years and under 10 years. Approximately 33% (7,675) of prisoners had an aggregate sentence length of less than 2 years. Periodic detainees accounted for 3% (749) of all sentenced prisoners.

Excluding prisoners with indeterminate and periodic detention sentences, the median aggregate sentence length for sentenced prisoners was unchanged from 2009 at 3 years (36 months). For information about interpreting mean and median sentence length based on a census 'snapshot' see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 78-80.

The longest median aggregate sentence lengths at 30 June 2010 were for homicide (approximately 14.6 years or 175 months), miscellaneous offences (10 years or 120 months) and sexual assault (6.6 years or 79 months). (Table 2.8)


Expected time to serve

Expected time to serve takes into account the earliest date of release for sentenced prisoners. Almost one quarter (24%) of sentenced prisoners (5,600) had an expected time to serve between 2 and less than 5 years, while 21% of prisoners (4,914) had an expected time to serve greater than 5 years.

Excluding prisoners with indeterminate, life without a minimum, and periodic detention sentences, the median expected time to serve for sentenced prisoners at 30 June 2010 was 2 years (24 months), an increase of just over two months from 2009.

The median expected time to serve was highest for the offence category of homicide (11 years or 132 months), followed by miscellaneous offences (6 years or 72 months) and sexual assault (4.5 years or 54 months). (Table 2.8)

Sentenced prisoners, median sentence length, by selected most serious offence(a)
Graph: Sentenced prisoners, median sentence length, by selected most serious offence(a)






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