Media Release: NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly update December 2013


Release date: Thursday 30 January, 2014  Embargo: 10.30am                

Adults in custody

The NSW adult prison population grew by 6.9 per cent between July 2012 and December 2013, according to the latest quarterly custody report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The number of adults in custody (not counting those held in police cells) reached 10,152 in December 2013. The increase in custody numbers since July 2012 was significantly higher for Indigenous prisoners (up 11.3 per cent) than for non-Indigenous prisoners (up 3.8%).

The rapid growth in adult custody numbers slowed somewhat over the last quarter of 2013 (up 81 prisoners compared with a rise of 210 in the previous quarter). However the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, cautioned that the slower growth in prisoner numbers  may be transient. 

"When courts go into recess over Christmas, the number of new receptions of sentenced offenders falls significantly. Now that the courts are back in action, we would expect the number of sentenced prisoner receptions to return to more normal levels."

There has been very little change in the offence profile of those held in custody. Prisoners held on remand are most likely to be facing charges involving acts intended to cause injury (24.8%), drug offences (21.3%), break and enter (8.1%) or robbery/extortion offences (7.9%).

Sentenced prisoners are likely to have been convicted of similar offences, although a significant proportion of sentenced prisoners (14.6%) are serving sentences for justice procedure offences (e.g. breach of a suspended sentence, breach of an apprehended violence order).

Juveniles in custody

In contrast to the adult custodial population, the total number of juveniles in custody remained fairly stable over the whole of 2013, having fallen from a peak of 357 in May 2012 to a little over 300 in January 2013. As at December 2013, there were 316 juveniles in detention.

It should be noted that, while the number of juveniles remanded into custody by police greatly exceedsthe number remanded by the courts, they are usually in custody only for a short time before the courts make a fresh decision on bail. As a result, the vast majority of juveniles in custody on remand at any given time have been placed there by the courts rather than by police. 

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02 9231 9190
Copies of the report: