1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Crime and justice


Corrective services agencies are responsible for administering penalties handed down by criminal courts that require some form of supervision or custody of an adult offender. This may include imprisonment on either a full-time or part-time basis in a custodial facility, community service and other forms of supervised work, home detention, or good behaviour bonds under supervision. Most people for whom corrective services have responsibility have received a sentence from a criminal court. Corrective service agencies may also be responsible for people prior to hearing or sentencing. Unsentenced persons may be held on remand in correctional facilities or be subject to supervised bail or similar community-based court orders.

All states and territories operate adult prisons and other types of corrective services. As at 30 June 2010, across Australia, corrective services operated 120 custodial facilities nationally, comprising 88 government-operated prisons, eight privately-operated prisons, two transition centres, eight periodic detention centres and 14 '24-hour' court-cell complexes (holding prisoners under the responsibility of corrective services in New South Wales).

Prior to March 2009, adult persons sentenced to full-time custody by the Australian Capital Territory were usually held in New South Wales prisons, while adult unsentenced prisoners, periodic detainees, and people under the supervision of community corrections (e.g. probation and parole) were managed locally. From March 2009, Australian Capital Territory adult persons sentenced to full-time custody are held in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Australian Government does not operate any prisons or other corrective services, as federal offenders (persons convicted of offences under Commonwealth laws) are supervised by state and territory agencies for correctional purposes.

In all states and territories except Queensland, persons remanded or sentenced to adult custody or community-based corrections are aged 18 years and over. Persons under 18 years of age are treated as juveniles in most Australian courts and are only remanded or sentenced to custody in adult prisons in exceptional circumstances. In Queensland, adults are deemed to be aged 17 years and over.

Separate provisions exist in each state and territory for the administration of juvenile offenders who require some form of supervision or custody. Juvenile offenders are aged between 10 years (the age of criminal responsibility) and up to 18 years of age (17 in Queensland). Persons who are older than 18 years (17 in Queensland) may be held under juvenile justice supervision if they:

  • committed an offence while a juvenile
  • entered supervision while a juvenile and remain in that system rather than be transferred to adult corrective services, and/or
  • are especially vulnerable or immature and such a measure is deemed appropriate.


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.