Sentenced prisoners down 7 per cent

Media Release

The number of sentenced prisoners fell by 7 per cent to 25,624, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Prisoners on remand decreased by 2 per cent to 14,864. Overall, 40,591 prisoners were in custody on 30 June 2022, a 6 per cent drop from 2021.

William Milne, ABS head of crime and justice statistics, said: “This is lowest count of prisoners since 2017. COVID-19 related restrictions, which began in March 2020, may still be impacting criminal activity and the justice system."

“Prisoner numbers dropped for nearly all offence types, including illicit drug offences (-13 per cent), burglary (-11 per cent), and robbery (-12 per cent). In contrast, prisoners in custody for sexual assault offences increased by 4 per cent over the year.”

Further information, including state and territory data, can be found in Prisoners in Australia, 2022, 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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