Prisoner numbers hit record high
MORE prisoners are doing time in Australian gaols than ever, official data shows.
The number of inmates in Australian gaols hit a record 30,775 in 2013, up five per cent from 2012, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released yesterday (Thursday, December 5).
The nation’s rate of imprisonment is also up, at 170 prisoners for every 100,000 adults, from 157 for every 100,000 adults in 2003.
The Northern Territory has the highest imprisonment rate this year, with 821 adults in prison for every 100,000 adults.
Western Australia, with 256 prisoners for every 100,000 adults, is second, followed by New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
The ACT has the lowest imprisonment rate.
Of the male inmate population, 20 per cent was gaoled for acts intended to cause injury, 15 per cent for sexual assault, and another 15 per cent for unlawful entry with intent.
Women, meanwhile, were commonly gaoled for drug offences (18 per cent), acts intended to cause injury (17 per cent) and unlawful entry with intent (10 per cent).
Most prisoners were born in Australia (81 per cent), followed by New Zealand at three per cent.
Two per cent of the local prison population was born in Vietnam, with another two per cent born in the United Kingdom.
Indigenous Australians comprise 27 per cent of the prisoner population, the ABS data shows.
The average age of Australian male inmates is 40, while for females it is 34.
Fifty-eight per cent of all prisoners are re-offenders. [more]