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ACT prisoner rates growing in line with national trend

By Glynis Quinlan - 11 September 2017 0

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The proportion of adults in the ACT who are imprisoned has increased by 10 per cent in the year to June 2017 in line with continuing increases in Australia’s prisoner population which has grown by 40 per cent in the last five years.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data on corrective services released recently also shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are heavily over-represented in the prison population both nationally and in the ACT.

The proportion of ACT adults in community-based correction has also increased in the June quarter for 2017, as have the national figures.

ACT imprisonment rates

The ACT average daily imprisonment rate in the three months to June 2017 was 147.1 people for every 100,000 adults. This was an increase of around 10 per cent from the June quarter for 2016 when there were 133.9 prisoners for every 100,000 adults.

The ACT has the third lowest average daily imprisonment rate in Australia, with Tasmania the lowest at 144 prisoners for every 100,000 adults and Victoria the second lowest with 145.3 prisoners for every 100,000 adults.

The Northern Territory has by far the highest imprisonment rate of all states and territories with 904 prisoners for every 100,000 adults.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners

Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners represented 28 per cent of the total full-time adult prisoner population during the June quarter 2017, even though only accounting for around two per cent of the Australia’s total Australian adult population.

The national average daily Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate in the June 2017 quarter was 2,456 prisoners per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. In the ACT, there were 1,985.2 prisoners per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

In the 12 months since the June quarter 2016, only the ACT and the Northern Territory had a decrease in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate, both decreasing by 4 per cent (or 88 and 132 prisoners per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, respectively).

Community-based corrections

In the June quarter 2017, the daily average national rate of people in community-based corrections was 358 people per 100,000 adults, representing an increase of 3 per cent for the year.

In the ACT, that figure was 336.3 people per 100,000 adults – increasing from 309.8 per 100,000 adults in the June quarter 2016.

Community-based correction orders relate to people who may have restricted movement, be making reparations (such as through fines or community service), be under supervision orders (parole, bail, sentenced probation) or under post-sentence supervision orders.

Are you concerned about the growing proportion of adults being imprisoned in the ACT? Does this reflect good ‘law and order’ measures or pave the way for more problems and repeat offenders in the community? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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