Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

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Aboriginal over-representation in the NSW Criminal Justice System

The over-representation of Aboriginal Australians in custody is a matter of long-standing and justified public concern. Latest figures indicate that the Aboriginal imprisonment rate in NSW is nearly 10 times the non-Aboriginal imprisonment rate (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020). Given that Aboriginal offenders are substantially overrepresented in prison, one would expect that they are also substantially over-represented at other stages of the Criminal Justice System.

Aboriginal over-representation in the NSW Criminal Justice System Quarterly update

The aim of this report is to monitor progress towards reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody in NSW.

The report shows:

  • Performance against two key indicators of Aboriginal over-representation in the justice system:
    • The number of Aboriginal people in custody
    • The number of court appearances involving Aboriginal people
  • Results for 14 secondary measures which contribute to changes in custody and court volumes.  These secondary measures include police actions, bail decisions, bail breaches, court outcomes and reoffending

Separate reports are available for Aboriginal young people and Aboriginal adults.


​Aboriginal over-representation in the NSW Criminal Justice System Infographic

These infographics aim provide a high level look at the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the Criminal Justice System. They focus on a number of points at which key decisions are made concerning Aboriginal people coming into contact with the justice system. These include:

  • police decisions to proceed against offenders to court
  • bail decisions
  • court outcomes, i.e. findings of guilt by the court
  • sentencing decisions, including imposing a custodial penalty
  • prison population

Separate reports are available for Aboriginal young people and Aboriginal adults.