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​NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly Update March 2016

Full Report: NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly Update March 2016 (pdf 1.3mb)

Embargo: 10.30am, Thursday 28 April 2016

The NSW adult prison population grew by nine per cent between April 2015 and March 2016, reaching a new record high in March of 12,390. This brings the total increase in the NSW adult prison population over the last two years to 15 per cent.

The increase is attributable to a growth in prisoners on remand (i.e. unconvicted prisoners awaiting trial or sentence). Between April 2015 and March 2016 the number of adult prisoners on remand grew by 18 per cent (from 3,466 to 4,090). Over the same period, the number of sentenced prisoners rose by four per cent (from 7,956 to 8,300).

The increase in adult remand numbers in the last 12 months was higher for non-Indigenous prisoners (up 20.1%) than for Indigenous prisoners (up 11.3%).

Receptions of prisoners on remand and receptions of sentenced prisoners both increased over the last 12 months; the former by 37 per cent and the latter by 20 per cent. 

The largest increases in the adult remand population over the last three months were for prisoners charged with dangerous/negligent acts (up 28.6%); sexual assault (16.2%); fraud/deception (up 12.8%); and abduction/harassment (up 11.5%).

Commenting on the findings, the Director of BOCSAR said that, receptions of remand prisoners had been rising at an average rate of 2.6% per month since June 2014.

“The percentage of defendants refused bail at their first court appearance has risen sharply since June 2014, not long after reforms to the NSW Bail Act were introduced.”

“Since more than half of all remand prisoners end up receiving a prison sentence, the rise in the bail refusal rate is one of the factors putting upward pressure on the NSW prison population.”

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn – 8346 1100
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au