4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Mar 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/06/2010   
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1 This publication presents statistical series on persons held in either adult corrective services custody or who are serving adult community-based orders in Australia. It contains data on the number of persons by their sex, Indigenous status, type of custody, legal status and sentence type; the number of sentenced persons received into corrective services custody each month; and the number of federal prisoners. Experimental data on Indigenous persons in community based corrections are also available in the Appendix.

2 Statistics presented in this publication are compiled in three ways:

  • Average daily prisoner population: Counts taken on each day of the month are summed and divided by the number of days in that month to determine the average daily prisoner population for that month. The average daily periodic detainee population is a count of persons on periodic detention on each day a centre is open, divided by the number of days a centre is open.
  • Sentenced prisoner reception figures: Counts are provided each month on the number of receptions where a prisoner is received as a sentenced prisoner. This includes prisoners with a change of legal status from unsentenced to sentenced.
  • First day of the month prisoner population: Counts of prisoners and persons serving community-based corrections orders, taken on or near the first day of the month (see paragraphs 4 and 5).

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 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:
  • The Western Australian and Australian Capital Territory prisoners in New South Wales prisons populations are counted as at midnight on the last day of the month. In these cases the figures provided are taken to represent the prison population at the beginning of the following month to align with practices in other states and territories.

5 Calculation of figures for the entire quarter and entire year varies depending on the counting unit and method of counting prisoners:
  • Average daily figures: Figures are calculated by weighting the average according to the number of days in each month, quarter or year.
  • First day of the month: Figures are simple averages. For quarterly figures, the sum of the monthly data is divided by three; for yearly figures, the figures for each month are added and the total divided by twelve.
  • Sentenced receptions: Figures are totals of each month.
  • These figures may be subject to rounding.


6 The scope of the statistics in this publication includes all persons remanded or sentenced to adult custodial corrective services agencies (including Work Outreach Camps and Community Custody Centres in Queensland), or who are serving adult community-based orders in each state and territory in Australia.

7 Counts of prisoners in the following custodial facilities are included in the collection:
  • gazetted prisons in all jurisdictions;
  • periodic detention centres in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory;
  • community custody centres and work outreach camps in Queensland;
  • cells in court complexes administered by corrective services in New South Wales;
  • transitional centres in New South Wales; and
  • lock-ups in Western Australia operated by the police but designated as a prison by the Chief Executive Officer of Corrective Services.

8 The prisons and community corrections collection excludes the following custodial facilities:
  • police lockups, police prisons and cells in court complexes not administered and controlled by corrective services;
  • gazetted police prisons in the Northern Territory;
  • juvenile detention centres, including those under the authority of adult corrective services;
  • immigration detention centres; and
  • military prisons.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 With the exception of Victoria and Tasmania, community-based corrections includes those persons with breached or suspended orders.


13 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.


14 Statistics for persons held in custody are presented by the state or territory in which they were held and therefore may not be the 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.

15 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.

16 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, these orders together will only be counted as one order.


17 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.

18 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 9).

19 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:
  • for the March quarter, ERP is from the previous September quarter;
  • for the June quarter, ERP is from the previous December quarter;
  • for the September quarter, ERP is from the previous March quarter;
  • for the December quarter, ERP is from the previous June quarter; and
  • annual rates are an average of the rates of the contributing quarters.

20 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 different ERP counts as follows:
  • Rates from the June 2007 quarter (excluding Indigenous rates) are calculated using rebased data from the intercensal period (2001-2006) sourced from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing;
  • All other rates (excluding Indigenous rates) are calculated using ERP data based on the 2001 Census of Population and Housing.

21 For population estimates and information on the methodology used to produce the ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).

Indigenous imprisonment rates

22 Rates for the Indigenous adult population are calculated using rebased estimates (for the period 1986 - 2006) and projections (2007 - 2021) of the Indigenous population. These data are based on data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing and use assumptions about future fertility, paternity, life expectancy at birth and migration. For more information see Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0).

23 The projections used in this publication are based on Series B projections for 30 June of the relevant calendar year. Series B is one of two main projection series (Series A and B) that have been published for the years 2007 to 2021. Both of these series assume an annual decline of 0.5% in fertility rates; an annual increase of 1% in paternity rates; constant interstate migration at levels observed in the 2006 Census; and zero net overseas migration with no arrivals and no departures. Further, two different assumptions were made about future Indigenous life expectancy at birth for Australia:
  • In Series A, Indigenous life expectancy at birth will remain constant; and
  • In Series B, Indigenous life expectancy at birth will increase by 0.3 years per year for both males and females.

24 The impact of re-basing Indigenous imprisonment rate data using Series B projections, instead of the previous "low series" of projections, is minimal at the national level. Differences of no greater than 5% are seen in the state and territory data, and generally the result has been a decrease in the imprisonment rate. This is because the assumptions used by Series B result in higher population estimates and projections than those through the use of the previous "low series".

25 The decision to use Series B as the denominator in the calculation of Indigenous imprisonment rates followed consultation with the National Corrective Services Statistics Advisory Group and other stakeholders.


26 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, quality assurance is required to better understand the level of accuracy over time

27 The quality of the Indigenous status information collected and recorded in Corrective Services 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 Services agencies. The quality of Indigenous data is being reviewed in 2010.

28 Some persons in custody are recorded with an unknown Indigenous status on the information systems of corrective agencies as their status has not been able to be obtained. 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 just over 2% of all records.


New South Wales

29 In March 2008, the administrative classification of the Wellington Correctional Centre was altered. The classification was changed from 'open' to 'secure' for 75% of the facility to reflect the change in the profile of inmates held. As such, the proportion of persons in secure and open custody altered in the March quarter 2008 compared to previous quarters.


30 Quality assurance conducted in Queensland during the June quarter 2009 had resulted in a revision of the number of offenders under community based corrections during January, February and March 2009.

31 Quality assurance work conducted in Queensland during the September quarter 2007 resulted in the identification and elimination of duplicate and other records for the month of July 2007. Caution should be exercised when comparing data prior to the September quarter 2007.

32 The Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) commenced on 26 August 2006. One key provision in the new legislation relates to the management of offenders subject to Court-ordered Parole. This new order ensures that offenders serve 100% of their sentence under supervision, either in a correctional centre or under community supervision. This new order provides courts with the power to specify a parole release date for persons sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 years or less. Technical breaches of parole orders are no longer heard by a parole board and can often result in a person serving the remainder of their original sentence in custody. Court-ordered Parole is not available to sex offenders or serious violent offenders.

South Australia

33 Data on community-based correction orders extracted from the South Australian information system from the June quarter 2005 may be subject to data processing time lags.

Western Australia

34 The large increase in prisoners from early 2009 was due to fewer offenders being granted parole by the Prisoner Review Board, increased incarcerations by the courts and the impact of the Truth in Sentencing legislation. Implemented on 23 September 2008, the Truth in Sentencing legislation refers to the Sentencing Act (WA) 1995, Transitional Provisions which removes the automatic 1/3 discount for each and every offence that appears in WA Statute books.

35 Data for persons in secure and open custody are extracted on the basis of the prisoner's security rating, rather than the location of the prisoner as per the standard definition (see Glossary). As a result, prisoners with a minimum security rating and located in a medium or maximum security prison are counted in the open custody numbers. Data for persons in secure custody may be understated and data for persons in open custody may be overstated.

36 Data for community-based correction orders extracted from the Western Australian information system are subject to data processing time lags of 4-6 weeks. Fine option orders are most likely to be impacted by the lag, with approximately 10% of each month's data entry delayed.


37 Tasmania trialled new orders for bail, suspended sentences and drug treatment as part of the Court Mandated Diversion program (CMD) from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008. Counts for supervision (compliance) - bail orders during the September quarter 2008 represent the transitional period concluding this trial. These orders are now being handled by alternative service providers.

Northern Territory

38 In September 2009 a new offender management system was implemented- the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS). Caution should be exercised in comparing December 2009 data with previous quarters as the new system has resulted in significant increased counts for sentenced receptions and some community-based orders. Bail counts for December quarter 2009 were also unable to be supplied, impacting the territory totals and to a lesser extent on the Australian total for this offence type.

Australian Capital Territory

39 In the December quarter 2009 issue of this publication, the counts of sentenced prisoner receptions for the December quarter 2009 were incorrectly derived due to a system error. The December quarter 2009 and 2009 calendar year figures have been revised (see Table 10).

40 From the September quarter 2009, all ACT sentenced and unsentenced prisoners are held within the ACT. From the June quarter 2009 all sentenced prisoner receptions were detained within the Australian Capital Territory. For this same period nearly all ACT prisoners held in New South Wales prisons were transferred to a new custodial facility (Alexander Maconochie Centre) which commenced taking prisoners in March 2009. Between 2000 and March quarter 2009, persons sentenced to full-time custody by the Australian Capital Territory were usually held in New South Wales prisons as the Australian Capital Territory only had two remand centres for unsentenced prisoners and a periodic detention centre. Unsentenced Australian Capital Territory prisoners may have also been detained in New South Wales prisons. The exception was for persons sentenced for fine default; these prisoners were detained in Australian Capital Territory remand.

41 A backlog of prisoners sentenced in the ACT awaiting transfer to NSW remained in the ACT during the transition of the opening of the new ACT prison. These sentenced prisoners were classified as 'unsentenced' prior to the December quarter 2009. With the opening of the new prison, sentenced reception counts better reflect accurate recording of sentenced and unsentenced prisoners, resulting in an increase in sentenced prisoner receptions from the September quarter 2009.

42 From the June quarter 2009, the new ACT custodial facility contains minimum, medium and maximum security prisoners; data for persons in secure and open custody are extracted on the basis of the prisoner's security rating, rather than the location of the prisoner as per the standard definition (see Glossary). As a result, prisoners with a minimum security rating are only recorded in open custody and data may be understated for this category, while secure custody may be overstated.

43 To provide greater understanding of the number of prisoners attributed to the Australian Capital Territory, while presenting an accurate picture of the New South Wales prisoner population, statistics relating to Australian Capital Territory prisoners in New South Wales prisons prior to the June quarter 2009 are presented as a subset of the New South Wales figures.

44 The decline in supervision bail compliance orders in December 2008 may have been partly influenced by data quality checks. Records with no completion or expiry date that should have been finalised on the system were marked as completed during this period.

45 Imprisonment rate data for the Australian Capital Territory are calculated on the basis of the total number of Australian Capital Territory prisoners (i.e. Australian Capital Territory prisoners that were held in New South Wales prisons, prior to September quarter 2009, and Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in the Australian Capital Territory) divided by the estimated resident Australian Capital Territory adult population and multiplied by 100,000. For New South Wales, the imprisonment rate is based on the count of New South Wales prisoners, excluding Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons prior to September quarter 2009, divided by the estimated resident New South Wales adult population and multiplied by 100,000. Time series data have also been derived on this basis.


ABS Publications

46 Other ABS publications that may be of interest include:
47 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 releases Crime and Justice News (cat. no. 4500.0), an annual newsletter that is published on the ABS website. The Centre can be contacted by email through <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.

Non-ABS Publications

48 Non-ABS sources that may be of interest include:
      Australian Institute of Criminology, List of Publications - irregular
      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
      Department of Justice, Victoria, Statistical Profile of the Victorian Prison System - issued annually
      NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, New South Wales Criminal Courts Statistics - issued annually
      Office of Crime Statistics and Research, South Australia, Crime and Justice in South Australia - issued annually
      Steering Committee for the Review of Commonwealth/State Service Provision, Report on Government Services - issued annually