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Embargo: 10.30am Monday, 1 May 2017
Full report - NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly update March 2017 (pdf 1.3mb)
The NSW prison population reached 12,955 in March this year, not counting prisoners held in police cells. This brings the total increase in the NSW adult prison population over the last two years to 13 per cent.
The growth in the State's prison population is slowing (see graph). The growth rate in the 12 months to March 2016 was 8.5 per cent. The growth rate in the 12 months to March 2017 was 3.6 per cent. Even so, the Bureau forecasts the NSW prison population will reach 13,500 by March next year.
Most (59%) of the increase in inmate numbers over the last 12 months has come from remand prisoners (i.e. prisoners refused bail), the number of whom rose by 6.3 per cent over the last 12 months. The number of sentenced prisoners, by contrast, rose by 2.2 per cent over the last 12 months.
The Indigenous prisoner population has grown over the last 12 months at a fairly similar rate to the overall prison population. All of the growth in the Indigenous prison population, however, has come from remand prisoners.
The number of Indigenous defendants on remand grew by 11.4 per cent over the last 12 months. The number of sentenced Indigenous prisoners actually fell by 0.10 per cent over the same time period.
In contrast to the adult prisoner population, the number of juveniles in custody is continuing its downward trend. As at March 2017, there were 281 juveniles in custody, down 9.4 per cent over the last 12 months.
The number of juveniles in custody has now fallen from a peak of 405 detainees in June 2011, by 31 per cent to 281 in March 2017.
Commenting on the findings, the director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) said the slowing growth in adult prisoner numbers was an encouraging sign given the rapid build-up in prisoner numbers over the last few years.
Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn – 8346 1100Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au