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4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Mar 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/2004   
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`NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents information on persons in custody and community-based corrections. The statistics are derived from information provided to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from administrative records held by corrective services agencies in each state and territory, and from the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department for details on federal prisoners. Details are provided for each state and territory on numbers and imprisonment rates by type of custody (i.e. open or secure custody or periodic detention). Information is also presented on prisoner numbers by legal status (sentenced or unsentenced) and by sentence type, for all prisoners and for Indigenous prisoners, together with the number of sentenced receptions into custody and the number of federal prisoners.

The ABS acknowledges the valuable contribution of the Board of Management, the Advisory Group of the National Corrective Services Statistics Unit and the staff of the various agencies that provide the statistics that are presented in this publication.


SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

Significant events are described in paragraphs 37-43 of the Explanatory Notes.


FURTHER INFORMATION

More information about ABS activities in the field of Crime and Justice statistics is available from the Crime and Justice theme page on the ABS web site. To access the theme page, select Themes from the menu on the home page. Details of other ABS publications relating to Crime and Justice statistics can be found in paragraphs 44-46 of the Explanatory Notes.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Nick Skondreas on Melbourne (03) 96157381.


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


NUMBER OF PRISONERS

Persons in prison custody, Average daily number per month

Graph: persons in prison custody, Average daily number per month




In the March quarter 2004, the average daily number of prisoners in Australia was 22,781, a decrease of 97 (less than 1%) on the December quarter 2003. The average daily number of prisoners in Australia increased by 596 (3%) since the March quarter 2003.


RATES PER 100,000 ADULTS

Average daily imprisonment rate (a)

Graph: AVERAGE DAILY IMPRISONMENT RATE (a)



Nationally, the average daily imprisonment rate was 149 prisoners per 100,000 adult population during the March quarter 2004, an increase of 1% since the March quarter 2003. The Northern Territory had the highest imprisonment rate (524 prisoners per 100,000 adult population), followed by Western Australia (204) and Queensland (178). The Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) and Victoria had the lowest imprisonment rates (73 and 93 prisoners per 100,000 adults respectively).

New South Wales recorded a 5% increase in the imprisonment rate since the March quarter 2003. Decreases in imprisonment rates were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners in New South Wales prisons) and Victoria of 13% and 3% respectively during this period.


SEX

Of the average daily number of prisoners in Australia in the March quarter 2004, 21,286 (93%) were male and 1,495 (7%) were female. The average daily imprisonment rate for males was 284 prisoners per 100,000 adult male population. The average daily imprisonment rate for females was 19 prisoners per 100,000 adult female population. Males were 15 times more likely to be in prison than females.


INDIGENOUS PRISONERS

Indigenous persons imprisonment rate (a)

Graph: INDIGENOUS PERSONS IMPRISONMENT RATE (a)



The national rate of imprisonment for Indigenous persons in the March quarter 2004 was 1,960 per 100,000 adult Indigenous population, an increase of 6% since the March quarter 2003 and a decrease of less than 1% since the December quarter 2003.

Indigenous imprisonment rate (a)

Graph: INDIGENOUS IMPRISONMENT RATE (a)



The highest rate of imprisonment for Indigenous persons was recorded in Western Australia (2,982 Indigenous persons per 100,000 adult Indigenous population), followed by New South Wales (2,250). The lowest rate of imprisonment was recorded by Tasmania (583). Over the past quarter Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia recorded decreases in the Indigenous rates of imprisonment (12%, 5% and 4% respectively).

Between the March quarters 2003 and 2004, there was an increase recorded in the Indigenous rate of imprisonment in each state and territory. New South Wales recorded the highest increase (9%), followed by Western Australia (7%). The lowest increases were recorded by Tasmania and South Australia (both 1%).

In the March quarter 2004, the national Indigenous rate of imprisonment was 17 times the non-Indigenous rate of imprisonment. The highest ratio of Indigenous to non-Indigenous rates of imprisonment was recorded in Western Australia where the Indigenous rate of imprisonment was 23 times the non-Indigenous rate. Further information on the interpretation of statistics on Indigenous persons in prison custody is provided in paragraphs 32-36 of the Explanatory Notes of this publication.


TYPE OF CUSTODY

In the March quarter 2004, the average daily number of prisoners in secure prison custody was 16,443 (72% of prisoners in custody). The remaining prisoners were held in open prison custody. Nationally, the proportion of persons held in secure and open prison custody has remained very stable over the past year.

In the March quarter 2004, the highest proportions of prisoners held in secure prison custody were recorded in Victoria (91%) and South Australia (89%). The lowest proportions of prisoners in secure prison custody were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) and New South Wales (46% and 53% respectively).


LEGAL STATUS AND SENTENCE TYPE

Of the total national population of prisoners in full-time custody on the first day of the month (22,744), the average number of unsentenced prisoners was 4,968 (22%) for the March quarter 2004. South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) had the highest proportions of unsentenced prisoners (33% and 32% respectively). The lowest proportion of unsentenced prisoners was recorded in Western Australia (16%).

Persons in prison custody, Proportion unsentenced per month

Graph: Persons in prison custody, Proportion unsentenced per month



Nationally, between the March quarters 2003 and 2004, the numbers of both sentenced and unsentenced prisoners have increased by 3%.


SENTENCED RECEPTIONS

In the March quarter 2004, there were 5,653 sentenced receptions into full-time custody in Australia. The number of sentenced receptions decreased by 298 (5%) compared with the March quarter 2003. The largest decrease was recorded by Western Australia (12%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) which decreased by 8%.


PERIODIC DETENTION

Periodic detention is a form of custody only used in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. During the March quarter 2004 there was an average daily number of 733 persons in New South Wales and 89 persons in the Australian Capital Territory held in periodic detention. While the rate of imprisonment for periodic detention in New South Wales decreased by 14% between the March quarters 2003 and 2004, it increased by 20% in the Australian Capital Territory during the same period. For the March quarter 2004, 8% of persons in custody in New South Wales were in periodic detention, while in contrast, 33% of Australian Capital Territory persons in custody were in periodic detention


FEDERAL PRISONERS

In the March quarter 2004, there were 667 federal prisoners in Australia, a decrease of 45 (6%) since the March quarter 2003. Of the federal prisoners, more than half were sentenced in New South Wales.


PERSONS IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS

In the March quarter 2004, there were 50,172 persons in community-based corrections in Australia, a decrease of 821 (2%) since the March quarter 2003. However, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Victoria recorded increases in persons in community-based corrections between the March quarter 2003 and the March quarter 2004 (10%, 9% and 8% respectively).


Rates per 100,000 adults

Nationally, the rate of persons in community-based corrections was 329 persons per 100,000 adult population for the March quarter 2004.

In the March quarter 2004, the male rate of participation in community-based corrections was 544 per 100,000 adult male population in comparison to 115 females per 100,000 adult female population. Males were five times more likely to be in community-based corrections than females.

Community-based corrections rate (a)

Graph: COMMUNITY–BASED CORRECTIONS RATE (a)


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