Full Report: NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly update December 2014 (pdf 1.3mb)
Embargo: 10.30AM, Friday, 30 January 2015
The NSW adult prison population is rising again after falling from its peak of 10,823 in April 2014. In the last six months of last year, the prison population rose by 2.4 per cent, from 10,385 to 10,360.
The increase is attributable to a growth in prisoners on remand (i.e. unconvicted prisoners awaiting trial or sentence). In the last six months of 2014 the number of adult prisoners on remand grew by 11.2 per cent, from 2,711 to 3,015.
In December 2014 the number of adult prison receptions was more than 13 per cent higher than the number of persons discharged from prison. The growth in receptions is entirely due to an influx of prisoners on remand. Between June 2014 and December 2014, the number of adult remand receptions grew by 28.8 per cent.
There has been little change in the offence profile of those held in custody over the last three months. Prisoners held on remand are most likely to be facing charges involving acts intended to cause injury (26.8%); drug offences (20%); robbery/extortion (8.8%); break and enter (8.8%); or sexual assault offences (9.0%).
Sentenced prisoners are likely to have been convicted of similar offences, although a significant proportion of sentenced prisoners (14.2%) are serving sentences for justice procedure offences (e.g. breach of a suspended sentence, breach of an apprehended violence order).
The number of juveniles in custody rose by 16.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2014, from 252 to 293. Once again, the increase was due to a surge in the number of defendants placed on remand. Over the last three months of 2014, the number of juveniles on remand increased by 52.1 per cent.
According to the director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, the recent surge in prisoner numbers is due to an increase in the percentage of defendants refused bail by police.