Prisoners on remand up 16%

Media Release

The number of prisoners on remand increased by 16 per cent to 15,182, while sentenced prisoners decreased by 1 per cent to 27,680, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The new data showed there were 42,970 prisoners in custody on 30 June 2021, a 5 per cent increase from 30 June 2020, while the proportion of prisoners who were unsentenced increased from 32 per cent to 35 per cent.

ABS head of crime and justice statistics, William Milne, said COVID-19 related restrictions, which began in March 2020, may have impacted criminal activity and the justice system for both 2020 and 2021.

“There were increases in prisoner numbers across most offence categories, including assaults (up 14 per cent), sexual assaults (up 7 per cent) and illicit drug offences (up 3 per cent). In contrast, there was a decrease in prisoners with offences of robbery (down 3 per cent) and burglary (down 4 per cent) over the year.”

Further information, including state and territory data, can be found in Prisoners in Australia, 2021, available for free download from the ABS website:

Media notes

  • Offence refers to most serious offence or charge as defined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC).
  • Prisoners on remand are awaiting the outcome of their court hearing. They are referred to as unsentenced prisoners in the publication
  • 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 (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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