4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2015  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2015   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



This publication presents national statistics on all persons remanded or sentenced to adult custodial corrective services agencies in each state and territory in Australia on 30 June 2015. These statistics describe the characteristics of prisoners, their sentence length, the most serious offence/charge for which offenders are imprisoned, and provide a basis for measuring change over time.


Post-sentence detention orders

Data on post-sentence detention orders are included in the publication for the first time for the 2015 cycle. Prior to 2015, post-sentence detention data were included in the sentenced prisoner totals. Data on the orders appears in tables 1, 13 and 15 of the publication. For a description of the orders, see Explanatory Notes paragraph 110.

Changes to publication tables

Table 23 in the 2014 publication (SENTENCED PRISONERS, state/territory and most serious offence by sentence length) has been separated into two tables: 23 (SENTENCED PRISONERS, state/territory and most serious offence by aggregate sentence) and 24 (SENTENCED PRISONERS, state/territory and most serious offence by expected time to serve). The change has been made to make clearer the differences in the respective populations used to calculate mean and median sentence length data for aggregate sentence and for expected time to serve.


To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values and summary variables. From the 2015 release, a technique called perturbation has been used. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.

Perturbation has been applied to the data presented in this publication, including historical data from 2005 onwards. Previously, a different technique was used to confidentialise these data and therefore there may be small differences between historical data presented in this publication and those published in previous issues of this publication. Readers are advised to use the year on year comparisons in the Downloads tab of this publication, rather than directly comparing these data to previous editions.

Data on persons serving post-sentence detention orders have not been perturbed.

Further information is available in the Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 107–109.


A list of other ABS publications relating to crime and justice statistics can be found on the Related Information tab.


The ABS acknowledges the valuable contribution of the Board of Management and Advisory Group of the National Corrective Services Statistics Unit, and the staff of the various agencies that provide the statistics that are presented in this publication.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.