Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice.  Find out more >

Aboriginal prison population now above pre-pandemic levels

Release date: Thursday 4 August 2022

Link to report summary:-

New figures released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show that in June 2022 there were 12,336 adults in custody in NSW. This is 1,000 people fewer than three years ago, prior to the pandemic (13,403 in June 2019).

While the overall adult prison population remains low, the number of Aboriginal adults in custody grew by 3.4% or 117 people in the last three months.

In contrast to the general prison population, the number of Aboriginal prisoners is now higher than before the pandemic (3,581 Aboriginal adults in prison in June 2022 compared to 3,474 in June 2019).

Commenting on the findings Jackie Fitzgerald said "unfortunately the COVID-related fall in the prison population was short-lived for Aboriginal people. Since June 2019, the Aboriginal male population has grown by 2.9% (91 people) to 3,258. The Aboriginal female population also rose to 323, a growth of 5.2% (16 people)".

"Of additional concern is that Aboriginal over-representation in the prison system is also growing: Aboriginal men now account for 28% of the male prison population while Aboriginal women comprise a staggering 40% of the female prison population. These trends are in contradiction to the commitment to Close the Gap and reduce Aboriginal people's over-representation in the criminal justice system by at least 15% by 2031".

Further enquiries: Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director, BOCSAR  0423 139 687
Email: bcsr@justice.nsw.gov.au
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au