4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Dec 2007 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/03/2008   
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The management of adult persons in the main in custody and offenders serving community corrections orders is the responsibility of state and territory corrective services agencies. Information on these persons is recorded by the corrective services agency for operational and case management purposes. Corrective services statistics are based on data extracted from these administrative records. Data are supplied to the ABS by the administering agency for all states and territories except for information on federal prisoners where they are supplied by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.

Corrective Services statistics are produced by the National Corrective Services Statistics Unit (NCSSU) of the ABS. The NCSSU functions under an intergovernmental agreement between the ABS and the Corrective Services Ministers of each of the states and territories. One of the major functions of the Unit is:

    • to compile, analyse publish and disseminate uniform national corrective services statistics, subject to the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0) presents information on all persons remanded or sentenced to adult corrective services custody or who are serving adult community-based orders. Comparable statistics are provided for each of the states and territories and Australia on prisoner numbers and imprisonment rates; and the numbers and rates of persons serving community-based corrections orders. Persons who are held in police lockups, police prisons and cells in court complexes not administered and controlled by corrective services agencies, are not included. Also excluded are persons held in juvenile detention centres, immigration detention centres and military prisons.


The Corrective Services publication is released quarterly, within 12 weeks of the reference period. Each quarterly release includes monthly data for the quarter; quarterly data for five quarters; and annual data for three years.


In order to ensure consistency in the data for each state and territory, corrective services statistics are compiled according to national standards and classifications. However, some differences still occur due to state and territory legislative and procedural requirements or to limitations of the various administrative data bases that are used to extract the data.

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.

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

Revisions to data are made when new information about the comparability of data over time is identified. This may occur when errors or omissions are identified in the administrative data supplied to the ABS in prior periods.

Experimental data on the Indigenous status of persons in community-based corrections are also included in an Appendix to the publication. An initial evaluation of the quality of Indigenous identification in community-based corrections has highlighted that currently no state or territory is fully complying with the ABS Standard Indigenous Question and therefore, care should be taken when referring to this data.


Statistics presented 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.
    • Sentenced receptions: Counts for each month of the number of receptions where a prisoner is received as a sentenced prisoner.
    • First day of the month population: Counts of prisoners and persons serving community-based corrections orders, taken on or near the first day of the month.
Due to differing scope and counting rules the data in the Corrective Services publication may not be comparable to data published in other national and state/territory publications.

A number of legislative and administrative system changes have occurred over time and the statistical impact of these changes is detailed in the Explanatory Notes. Changes to the number and classification of the various correctional facilities can also have an impact on the data and these are also discussed in detail in the Explanatory Notes.


Imprisonment rates and community-based corrections rates are included in the publication. These enable comparisons of prisoner numbers to be made across states and territories. These rates are calculated using the most current estimated resident population for each of the states and territories at the time of publication.

Detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and Glossary also provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.


If the information you require is not available from the publication, then the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics may be able to help you with a customised service to suit your needs. Email: <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>