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Why is the NSW prison population still growing?

Full repport: Why is the NSW prison population still growing? Another look at prison trends between 2011 and 2015, pdf 657Kb

Embargo: 10.30AM, Friday 26 February, 2016

Between June 2011 and September 2015, the number of people in prison rose from 10,000 to 11,801, an increase of 18 per cent. The increase since November 2014 has been particularly marked, with an additional 1,421 prisoners added to the population in just ten months.

As of September 2015, the remand population stood at 3,597. This is 975 remand prisoners more than were in custody in September 2011. The sentenced prisoner population in September 2015 stood at 8,204. This is 1,023 more sentenced prisoners than were in custody in September 2011.

The growth in the number of persons entering remand is due to four factors: (a) more people being proceeded against by police for offences where bail refusal is likely (b) more people being proceeded against for breach of bail (c) longer periods on remand and (d) (possibly), an increase in the likelihood of bail refusal.

The increase in the sentenced prisoner population is partly due to an increase in the percentage of convicted offenders given a prison sentence and partly due to the fact that police are more often initiating criminal proceedings against offenders who, if convicted, are likely to be imprisoned.

The percentage imprisoned has risen significantly for offenders convicted of stalking/ intimidation, criminal intent, receiving or handling the proceeds of crime, obtaining benefit by deception, dangerous/negligent driving, theft (other than motor vehicles), serious assault resulting in injury, common assault, breach of community service orders, threatening behaviour and sell, possess and/or use prohibited weapons/explosives.

The number proceeded against by police has increased significantly for stalking/intimidation, criminal intent, receiving/handling the proceeds of crime, obtaining benefit by deception, dealing/trafficking in drugs (non-commercial quantity) and breach of violence order.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn (8346 1100)

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au