4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/12/2013   
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5 December 2013
Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)
Australian prisoner numbers reach 30,000 for the first time

The number of prisoners in Australia has reached over 30,000 for the first time, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today.

ABS Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice, Brad Petry, said "At 30 June 2013, there were 30,775 prisoners in Australia's corrective services custody. This represents an increase of five per cent from 2012 and equates to 0.2 per cent of Australia's adult population in Australian corrective services custody".

The median age for male prisoners was 33.9 years and 34.5 years for females.

Over half (58 per cent) of all prisoners had served a sentence in an adult prison prior to the current episode.

"Australia has a current imprisonment rate of 170 prisoners per 100,000 adults, which compares to an imprisonment rate of 157 per 100,000 adults in 2003.

“The Northern Territory had the highest imprisonment rate in the country with 821 per 100,000 adults incarcerated, followed by Western Australia with 256 per 100,000.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprised just over a quarter (27 per cent or 8,430) of the total prisoner population", said Mr Petry.

The most common offences for male prisoners were acts intended to cause injury (20 per cent), sexual assault and unlawful entry with intent (both 15 per cent). For females, the most common were illicit drug offences (18 per cent), acts intended to cause injury (17 per cent) and unlawful entry with intent (10 per cent).

Eight in ten prisoners were born in Australia (81 per cent), followed by New Zealand (3 per cent), Vietnam and the United Kingdom (both 2 per cent).

The ‘Prisoners in Australia’ publication looks at people who were in Australian adult corrective services and includes statistics on the characteristics of prisoners, their sentence length and the most serious offence.

For the first time, the ABS has created state and territory profiles as part of the publication so that data users can easily access the key statistics on prisoners for their jurisdiction.

These profiles, as well as any further information, can be found in Prisoners in Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4517.0), available as a free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).

Media notes
: When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.