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KEY FINDINGS

Australian adult prisoner numbers continue to rise.

  • The number of prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 6% from 38,845 prisoners at 30 June 2016 to 41,202 at 30 June 2017.
  • Between 2016 and 2017 the national imprisonment rate increased by 4% from 208 to 216 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.

Unsentenced prisoners and sentenced prisoners

  • The number of unsentenced prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 7%, from 12,111 at 30 June 2016 to 12,911 at 30 June 2017. This was a smaller increase than the previous two years where increases of more than 20% were recorded.
  • Sentenced prisoners increased by 6% from 26,649 to 28,199 prisoners.

Graph Image for PRISONERS, Legal status, 30 June 2007 to 30 June 2017
Graph Image for PROPORTION OF SENTENCED AND UNSENTENCED PRISONERS, 30 June 2007 to 30 June 2017

  • The increase in unsentenced prisoners was accompanied by an increase in the median time spent on remand awaiting trial and/or sentence, which increased 14% from 2.9 to 3.3 months. The Northern Territory was the only state or territory to record a decrease.

Graph Image for UNSENTENCED PRISONERS, Median time on remand(a), States and territories, 30 June 2015, 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017

Most common offences for prisoners in Australia

  • The most prevalent offences were Acts intended to cause injury (9,344 or 23%) and Illicit drug offences (6,155 prisoners or 15%).
  • Since 2016, these two offences had the largest increases in number of prisoners and accounted for the majority (81%) of the national increase in the prison population (6% or 2,357 prisoners).