Prisoner numbers fall 5% - the first decrease since 2011
The number of adult prisoners in Australian prisons has fallen for the first time since 2011, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
On 30 June 2020 there were 41,060 prisoners in custody, a 5 per cent decrease from 30 June 2019, with prisoners aged 18-29 years accounting for over half of this decrease.
ABS Director of the National Centre of Crime and Justice Statistics, William Milne said the introduction of COVID-19 related restrictions since March 2020 may have impacted criminal activity and the justice system.
“The number of sentenced and unsentenced prisoners fell in 2020, with sentenced prisoner numbers falling by 3 per cent and unsentenced prisoners by 8 per cent.
“There were decreases in prisoner numbers across most offence categories. Illicit drug offences, assaults, burglary and theft all showed large decreases. In contrast, there was an increase in prisoners with sexual assault offences over the year.”
- Offence refers to most serious offence or charge as defined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC).
- Historical age data can be found in previous publications.
- When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
- For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via firstname.lastname@example.org (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri AEDT).
- Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.