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Increase in number of people sentenced to jail
Six per cent of the defendants proven guilty in Australia’s criminal courts during 2011-12 were sent to prison, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today.
Of the 490,469 people proven guilty, 31,106 received a sentence of imprisonment, a three per cent increase compared to 2010-11.
ABS Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, Fiona Dowsley, said today’s publication revealed that 572,251 defendants were finalised by the criminal courts during the 2011-12 financial year.
“Today’s figures show that the number of defendants finalised has decreased by 11 per cent since 2006-07,” Ms Dowsley said.
“Of the total number of defendants, 91 per cent were finalised in the Magistrates’ Courts, six per cent in the Children’s Courts, and three per cent were finalised in the Supreme and District Courts.
“More than eight in ten defendants were proven guilty, and of those proven guilty, 89 per cent received a non-custodial order," she said.
Defendant characteristics and offences
“Our data showed that 77 per cent of finalised defendants were male, and that organisations made up one per cent of total defendants in 2011-12,” she said.
Traffic offences continue to dominate courts workloads in 2011-12, with 41 per cent of all adjudicated defendants appearing for road traffic and motor vehicle offences, followed by acts intended to cause injury (11 per cent) and public order offences (eight per cent).
Young people in the courts
“In 2011-12, there were 33,604 defendants finalised in the Children’s Courts.
“The age group with the highest proportion of defendants was the 17 years age category, with 22 per cent of these defendants being finalised for acts intended to cause injury,” she said.
More than one quarter (28 per cent) of defendants proven guilty in the Children’s Courts were sentenced to a community supervision or work order.
Further information can be found in Criminal Courts, Australia, 2010-11 (cat. no 4513.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).
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