4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2002   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All
  • About this Release
  • Australia's prisoner population up 50% in a decade - ABS figures (Media Release)


March 26, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australia's prisoner population up 50% in a decade - ABS figures

The number of people in prison has increased by 50% over the decade to 30 June 2001, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The prisoner population increased from 15,021 prisoners in 1991 to reach 22,458 prisoners in 2001, while the adult imprisonment rate increased by more than one quarter (28%) from 117 to 151 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.

Other findings in Prisoners in Australia, 30 June 2001 include:
  • While just 15% of the total Australian adult population were males aged between 20 and 35 years, this group accounted for over half (56%) of all prisoners.
  • The proportion of females in prison is gradually increasing. Just under 5% of the prisoner population were female in 1991 compared to almost 7% in 2001.
  • One-fifth of the prisoner population were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, compared with approximately 2% of the total adult Australian population.
  • Almost two-thirds (60%) of prisoners had previously served a prison sentence.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 prisoners serving a sentence had a most serious offence involving violence or the threat of violence.
  • More than half of the sentenced prisoners have an aggregate sentence length of less than 5 years. Approximately 2% of prisoners have a sentence length of 20 years or more.
  • Between 30 June 2000 and 30 June 2001, there was a 15% increase in the number of prisoners on remand. These prisoners included unconvicted prisoners awaiting a court hearing or trial, convicted prisoners awaiting sentence and persons awaiting deportation.


Further details are in Prisoners in Australia, 30 June 2001 (cat. no. 4517.0).