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Embargo: 10.30am Monday, 31 July 2017
Full report - NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly Update June 2017 (pdf 1.3mb)
The NSW prison population reached 13,092 in June this year, not counting prisoners held in police cells. This brings the total increase in the NSW adult prison population over the last 12 months to 3.8 per cent.
The growth in the State’s prison population is slowing (see graph over page). The growth rate in the 12 months to June 2016 was 6.5 per cent, whereas the growth rate in the 12 months to June 2017 was 3.8 per cent. Even so, the Bureau forecasts the NSW prison population will pass 13,400 by June next year.
Most of the increase in inmate numbers over the last 12 months has come from sentenced prisoners, the number of whom rose by 403 (4.8%) over the last 12 months. The number of remand prisoners, by contrast, rose by 73 (1.7%) over the last 12 months.
The number of Indigenous prisoners grew by 113 (3.7%) over the last 12 months, bringing the total number of Indigenous prisoners in NSW prisons in June this year to 3,149 (i.e. 24% of the total NSW prison population). The non-Indigenous prison population growth was larger in absolute terms (+271 prisoners) but smaller in percentage terms (2.8%).
On average over the last 12 months, 1,569 prisoners were received into custody and 1,524 were released from custody.
There was a slight (11.1%) upward trend in the number of juveniles in custody (up 29, from 261 in July last year to 290 in June this year. Even so, the number of juveniles in custody is still well below the peak of 405 detainees in June 2011.
Commenting on the findings, the director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) said that the growth in prisoners in NSW over the last few years was due to a combination of higher arrest rates and tougher sentencing policies, particularly in relation to assault, drug trafficking, sexual assault and breaches of court orders.
Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02 8346 1100Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au