Latest release

Corrective Services, Australia

National and state information about adult prisoners and community based corrections, including legal status, custody type, Indigenous status, sex.

Reference period
September Quarter 2020
Released
26/11/2020
Future releases
  • Next Release 11/03/2021
    Corrective Services, Australia, December Quarter 2020
  • Next Release 3/06/2021
    Corrective Services, Australia, March Quarter 2021
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Key statistics

  • There were 41,002 prisoners in Australia, the lowest since the March quarter 2017.
  • The national imprisonment rate and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate decreased by 2% for the quarter.
  • 78,401 persons were serving community-based corrections (CBC) orders, the lowest since the March quarter 2019.
  • Prisoner receptions increased by 9% for the quarter up to 15,919.

Persons in custody

In the September quarter 2020, prisoners (average daily number) decreased by 2% (782) for the quarter to 41,002, compared with:

  • 41,784 in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 42,987 in the September quarter 2019.


Victoria was the main contributor to the national decrease, decreasing by 6% (484) for the quarter to 7,025.

There were quarterly decreases in all states and territories except for 1% increases in Queensland and South Australia.

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(a) Based on average daily number

Imprisonment rates

The average daily imprisonment rate was 205 persons, down from 210 persons per 100,000 adult population in the June quarter 2020.

The Northern Territory continued to have the highest imprisonment rate of all states and territories at 899 persons, down from 914 persons per 100,000 adult population last quarter.

Western Australia had greatest imprisonment rate decrease of all states and territories, down 16 persons for the quarter to 325 persons per 100,000 adult population.

There were also quarterly imprisonment rate decreases for Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.
 

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(a) Rate is the number of prisoners per 100,000 adult population. Based on average daily number.

Sex

Of all persons in custody:

  • Male prisoners represented 92% (37,864); and
  • Female prisoners represented 8% (3,138).


Of all male prisoners, 70% were held in:

  • New South Wales (31% or 11,874);
  • Queensland (21% or 8,103); or
  • Victoria (18% or 6,630).


Of all female prisoners, 74% were held in:

  • New South Wales (26% or 831);
  • Queensland (26% or 803); or
  • Western Australia (22% or 696).


The imprisonment rate for male prisoners was 386 persons, down from 395 persons per 100,000 adult male population in the June quarter 2020.

The imprisonment rate for female prisoners was 31 persons, down from 32 persons per 100,000 adult female population in the June quarter 2020.
 

Type of custody

Of all persons in custody:

  • 82% (33,648) were in secure custody; compared with
  • 18% (7,354) in open custody.

 

Legal status

There were 40,975 prisoners (first day of the month) in Australia in the September quarter 2020.

Unsentenced prisoners decreased by 5% (754) for the quarter to 13,081, compared with:

  • 13,835 in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 14,257 in the September quarter 2019.


Victoria was the main contributor to the national decrease in unsentenced prisoners, down 12% (328) for the quarter to 2,466.

Sentenced prisoners represented 68% (27,789) of the prisoner population in the September quarter 2020.

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(a) Based on average number on the first day of the month

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners

The daily average for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners in the September quarter 2020 decreased by 2% (228) for the quarter to 12,073, compared with:

  • 12,301 in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 12,232 in the September quarter 2019.


Of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners:

  • Three quarters (75%) were in New South Wales (3,330), Queensland (3,075) or Western Australia (2,621);
  • 91% (10,935) were male; and
  • 66% (7,964) were sentenced.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates

The national average daily Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate was 2,282 persons, down from 2,325 persons per 100,000 adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population last quarter.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate for:

  • male prisoners was 4,184 persons, down from 4,252 persons per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult male population last quarter; and
  • female prisoners was 425 persons, down from 444 persons per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult female population last quarter.


Western Australia continued to have the highest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate of all states and territories at 3,842 persons, down from 3,976 persons per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population last quarter.

Victoria had the greatest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate decrease of all states and territories, down 140 persons for the quarter to 1,837 persons per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population.

There were also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate decreases for the quarter for all states and territories except for South Australia.

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a) Rate is the number of prisoners per 100,000 adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Based on average daily number.

Federal sentenced prisoners

Federal sentenced prisoners (first day of month average) in the September quarter 2020 increased by 8% (61) for the quarter up to 813.

Over three quarters (78%) of all federal sentenced prisoners were in New South Wales (49% or 398) or Victoria (29% or 238).

Community-based corrections

Reported averages for number of persons serving community-based corrections (CBC) orders and for the number of CBC orders are based on first day of the month figures. For the community-based corrections order types, persons may be counted more than once if they have two or more different types of orders operating simultaneously.
 

Persons in community-based corrections

Persons serving CBC orders decreased by 2% (2,010) for the quarter down to 78,401 (first day of month average), compared with:

  • 80,411 in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 82,050 in the September quarter 2019.


Queensland was the main contributor to the national decrease, down 8% (1,449) for the quarter to 17,707, followed by Victoria which decreased by 9% (1,035) to 10,428. There were also quarterly decreases for the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

New South Wales had the greatest increase in persons serving CBC orders, up 1% (350) since the June quarter 2020 to 34,781. There were also quarterly increases for Western Australia and South Australia.

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a) Based on average number on the first day of the month

Rates for persons in community-based corrections

The national rate of persons serving CBC orders decreased by 12 persons for the quarter down to 392 persons per 100,000 adult population, compared with:

  • 405 persons per 100,000 adult population in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 417 persons per 100,000 adult population in the September quarter 2019.
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a) Rate per 100,000 persons for the state/territory of interest.

Sex

Of all persons serving CBC orders:

  • Male persons represented 81% (63,174); and
  • Female persons represented 19% (15,194).


The rate for male persons serving CBC orders was 644 persons for the quarter, down from 664 persons per 100,000 adult male population.

The rate for female persons serving CBC orders was 149 persons for the quarter, down from 154 persons per 100,000 adult female population.
 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons serving CBC orders decreased by 2% (306) for the quarter down to 16,923 (first day of month average), compared with:

  • 17,229 in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 17,287 in the September quarter 2019.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons made up over one-fifth (22%) of all persons serving CBC orders.

Three states accounted for 81% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons serving CBC orders:

  • New South Wales (45% or 7,552);
  • Queensland (26% or 4,388); and
  • Western Australia (10% or 1,738).
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(a) Based on average number on the first day of the month.

Type of orders

Reported averages for number of persons serving community-based corrections (CBC) orders and for the number of CBC orders are based on first day of the month figures. For the community-based corrections order types, persons may be counted more than once if they have two or more different types of orders operating simultaneously.

Of all CBC order types, the greatest quarterly decreases (first day of month average) were for:

  • Sentenced probation (by 2% or 1,378) down to 53,775;
  • Community service (by 6% or 861) down to 13,275; and
  • Fine option (by 18% or 206) down to 968.


Sentenced probation continued to be the most common order type, accounting for 60% of CBC orders.

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a) Based on average number on the first day of the month
* Data for this CBC order type are not available or not applicable for certain jurisdictions

Prisoner receptions

The total number of prisoner receptions was 15,919 for the September quarter 2020, compared to:

  • 14,624 in the June quarter 2020; and
  • 17,168 in the September quarter 2019.


Of all prisoner receptions:

  • 87% (13,900) were male;
  • 13% (2,019) were female;
  • 33% (5,205) were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander;
  • 22% (3,434) were sentenced; and
  • 78% (12,485) were unsentenced.


Prisoner receptions increased by 9% (1,295) for the quarter, following a large quarterly decrease of 17% (2,987) in the June quarter 2020.

There were quarterly increases in prisoner receptions in six states and territories, the greatest of which were in:

  • Queensland (by 21% or 569) up to 3,302;
  • New South Wales (by 10% or 414) up to 4,705;
  • Victoria (by 12% or 313) up to 2,988; and
  • the Northern Territory (by 18% or 137) up to 904.


Unsentenced prisoner receptions increased by 9% (984) for the quarter up to 12,485.

Sentenced prisoner receptions increased by 10% (311) for the quarter up to 3,434.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoner receptions increased by 6% (317) for the quarter up to 5,205.
 

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(a) Total number of prisoner receptions.

For information about corrective service data items and counting units, please refer to the Methodology.

Data downloads

Corrective services datacubes

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4512.0.