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3 Although national standards and classifications are used in the compilation of these statistics, some discrepancies remain between the states and territories. These are due to legislative and procedural differences between jurisdictions and the way that these differences are reflected in agencies' administrative data systems. As part of its quality assurance strategy, the ABS is working with corrective services agencies to minimise the effect of these differences.
4 Statistics in this publication are derived from information provided to the ABS from administrative records held by corrective services agencies within each state and territory. Statistics on federal prisoners are derived from records kept by the Criminal Law Division of the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.
5 The scope of the statistics in this publication includes all persons remanded or sentenced to adult custodial facilities, or who are serving adult community-based orders in each state and territory in Australia.
6 Counts of prisoners in the following custodial facilities are included in the collection:
7 The prisons and community-based corrections collection excludes the following custodial facilities:
8 This collection includes counts of persons remanded or sentenced to adult custody facilities, or directed to serve community-based orders administered by adult corrective services agencies. In all states and territories except Queensland, persons are considered adults if aged 18 years and over. In Queensland persons are considered adults if aged 17 years and over. The vast majority of persons counted in the collection are adults. However, juveniles may be included in exceptional circumstances.
9 Since December 2004, the Kariong Juvenile Correctional Centre in New South Wales has operated under the authority of adult corrective services. The population at Kariong Juvenile Correctional Centre may include adult persons as well as juveniles. New South Wales includes juveniles based in Kariong in this collection, however, this facility accounts for less than 0.5% of the New South Wales prisoner population.
10 Federal prisoners include those persons charged and sentenced under a Commonwealth statute, and those persons who are charged and sentenced under the laws of another country but transferred to an Australian prison to serve their sentence under the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 (Cwlth). To give practical effect to this legislation in Australia, the framework was introduced in January 2003. For the purposes of this publication, federal sentenced prisoners are those persons who are recognised by the Criminal Law Division of the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department as having been charged and sentenced under a Commonwealth statute, or transferred from another country to serve their sentence in Australia.
11 With the exception of Victoria and Tasmania, community-based corrections includes those persons with breached or suspended orders.
12 The reference period for average daily prisoner population statistics and sentenced reception counts is the complete reference month. The reference date for all other figures is the first day of the reference month. However, not all states and territories report strictly according to this 'first day of the month' rule:
13 Statistics for persons held in custody are presented by the state or territory in which they were held, however, this may not be the same as the original sentencing jurisdiction. The only exception to this are data for federal sentenced prisoners. These are presented by the state or territory in which they were sentenced, not where they were held in custody.
14 Sentenced prisoners who have other offences that are unsentenced are counted as sentenced. Prisoners may be unsentenced because they are awaiting the outcome of their trial, convicted but awaiting sentence, or awaiting deportation.
15 If an offender has two or more different types of community-based orders operating simultaneously, then each order will be counted. If two or more community-based orders are of the same type, the person will only be counted once in each order category.
16 Imprisonment and community-based corrections rates enable comparisons of prisoner numbers to be made across states and territories. Prisoner and community-based corrections rates are expressed per 100,000 adult population. Imprisonment rates are calculated based on two different counting concepts (average daily and first day of the month). As a result, there may be variations in imprisonment rates presented in this publication.
17 In this publication the population figures used in the calculation of rates are for persons aged 18 years and over for all states and territories except Queensland where the population is persons aged 17 years and over (see paragraph 8).
18 Rates for the total adult prisoner population and persons in community-based corrections are calculated using the estimated resident population (ERP) for each of the states and territories. All estimates for the Australian Capital Territory exclude Jervis Bay Territory. All estimates for Australia exclude the external territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Island. As the population changes over time the denominator used for the calculation of rates varies, depending on the reference period. The most current ERP data available at the time of publication are used to calculate rates as follows:
19 The ERP series are revised every five years to incorporate additional information available from the latest Census of Population and Housing. The rates per 100,000 adult persons presented in this issue have been calculated using ERP data based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.
20 For population estimates and information on the methodology used to produce the ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates
21 In April 2014, the ABS published the backcast historical population estimates (for the period 2001–2011) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, along with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population projections (for the period 2001–2026) in Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3238.0). As a result, imprisonment rates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population in this publication from 2011 have been revised, using final ERP data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.
22 There are three main projection series presented in Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3238.0): Series A, B and C. These respectively imply a high, medium and low overall growth rate of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. All three series assume constant interstate migration at levels observed in the 2011 Census; zero net overseas migration with no arrivals and no departures; and zero unexplained growth in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Different assumptions were made about future fertility, paternity and life expectancy at birth between the three series:
23 The adult ERP used to calculate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates is based on Series B projections for 30 June of the relevant calendar year. This is consistent with the decision made in 2009, following consultation with the National Corrective Services Statistics Advisory Group and other stakeholders. The publication, Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3238.0), suggests that Series B will be the most appropriate choice for most users.
24 The ABS conducts an ongoing programme of quality assurance to monitor and improve the quality of Indigenous Status data in Corrective Services agencies (both custodial and community-based corrections). Whilst the ABS has published Indigenous status data in Corrective Services collections for a number of years, ongoing quality assurance enables better understanding of accuracy over time.
25 The quality of the Indigenous status information collected and recorded in Corrective Service agencies is assessed against the ABS Standard Indigenous Question (SIQ). The SIQ is based upon self-identification by the individual who comes into contact with Corrective Service agencies. In 2010, the ABS conducted a comprehensive quality assurance review across all jurisdictions and sectors of the criminal justice system to confirm our understanding of the processes involved in recording Indigenous status and the barriers to producing quality statistics. The results of the review concluded that corrective services data are of acceptable quality and comparability for all states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia. In Western Australia, Indigenous status is determined by asking two questions rather than asking the ABS SIQ at the first meeting. This is at the discretion of the case manager and in some instances Indigenous status may be recorded from information previously collected or otherwise determined by the case manager. For this reason, caution should be exercised when comparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data from Western Australia to other states and territories.
26 Some persons in custody are recorded with an unknown Indigenous status on the information systems of corrective services agencies as their status has not been able to be obtained or recorded. Persons with Indigenous status unknown are excluded from tables 13-16. Counts of persons with an unknown Indigenous status are included in all other tables. Unknowns account for approximately 1% of prisoners in custody and 2% of persons in community-based corrections.
27 Data for community-based correction orders extracted from the Western Australian information system are subject to data processing time lags of 4-6 weeks.
28 Orders under the Court Mandated Diversion for Drug Offenders (CMD) returned to Community Corrections supervision in July 2010 and have been included in the electronic data from January 2012 onwards. Drug Treatment Orders are counted under Sentenced Probation, and CMD Bail Orders under Bail.
29 Tasmania opened a new open custody facility, O'Hara cottages located at Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison in April 2013.
30 Tasmania introduced Monetary Penalty Community Service Orders in 2011. These orders are counted as Reparation - Fine option and are included in the data from the March quarter 2012.
31 In March 2012 the Northern Territory introduced two new sentencing options, the Community Custody Order for non-violent and non-sexual offenders facing an imprisonment period of less than 12 months, and the Community-based Order for non-violent offenders and non-sexual offenders not facing an imprisonment period. These orders are both counted under Sentenced Probation and are included in the data from the June quarter 2012.
32 A review of the Sentence Management Manual and classification process has resulted in the reclassification of additional prisoners to open custody. Any comparisons of open custody data between the 2014 December quarter onwards and previous quarters should be made with caution.
Australian Capital Territory
33 In July 2012 an audit was conducted by ACT Corrective Services of Reparation - Community Service files. As a result a number of breached orders were identified and actioned. The persons on these orders have returned to court and the original order has either been revoked or reactivated, depending on the Court outcome.
34 The ACT has changed the calculation method for persons serving Periodic Detention (with warrants) from the June Quarter 2013. This change means data from the June Quarter 2013 is not comparable to earlier data.
35 The ACT has changed its counting methodology for persons serving community-based corrections orders from the September Quarter 2014 onwards. This means that persons who have completed their community-based corrections orders prior to the order expiry date will no longer be counted in community-based corrections counts, as was done in previous quarters. The specific community-based corrections orders affected include parole, bail and sentenced probation.
This change means that any comparisons of ACT parole, bail and sentenced probation data, as well as total persons serving community-based corrections orders in the ACT, between the 2014 September quarter onwards and previous quarters should be made with caution.
This change will also have consequential impacts on the national data for these community-based corrections orders from the September Quarter 2014. Caution should be used when comparing with previous national data for parole, bail and sentenced probation orders.
36 Other ABS publications which may be of interest are listed on the Related Information tab.
37 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website that details products to be released in the week ahead. The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics can be contacted by email through <email@example.com>.
38 Non-ABS sources that may be of interest include:
Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia, Crime and Justice Statistics for Western Australia - issued annually
Department of Corrective Services, New South Wales, NSW Inmate Census - irregular
Department of Justice, Northern Territory, Northern Territory Quarterly Crime and Justice Statistics - issued quarterly
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, New South Wales Criminal Courts Statistics - issued annually
Steering Committee for the Review of Commonwealth/State Service Provision, Report on Government Services - issued annually
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