4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/04/2013  Reissue
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Contents >> Prisoner characteristics, Australia >> Most Serious Offence/Charge


A most serious offence/charge is determined for each prisoner (see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 79-82). At 30 June 2012, the most prevalent offences/charges for prisoners (either sentenced or unsentenced) were: acts intended to cause injury (20%); sexual assault and illicit drug offences (both 12%); unlawful entry with intent (11%); and homicide and robbery and extortion (both 10%). Together, these offences/charges accounted for just under three quarters (74%) of all prisoners in 2012. (Table 2.6)


Prisoners aged 25-34 years accounted for the highest proportion of prisoners for the following offences/charges:

  • theft (44%);
  • unlawful entry with intent (42%)
  • robbery and extortion (41%); and
  • acts intended to cause injury and offences against justice (40%).

Prisoners aged 35-44 years accounted for the highest proportion of prisoners for illicit drug offences (31%), homicide (29%) and sexual assault (25%).

The following graph shows that when comparing different offences across age groups:
  • prisoners aged 55 years and over and 45-54 had a higher proportion of prisoners imprisoned for sexual assault than for any other age group (39% and 22% respectively);
  • for each of the remaining age groups, acts intended to cause injury was the most prevalent most serious offence/charge (Table 2.4)

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