Author Don Weatherburn and Stephanie Ramsey
Published August 2016
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 118
Subject Aboriginal / Indigenous Australians; Bail / Remand; Parole; Prisons and prisoners
Keywords Indigenous, proportion convicted, proportion imprisoned, proportion refused bail, non-parole period length.

Download this publication



To examine the rise in the NSW Indigenous prison population.


Descriptive analysis of trends in bail, sentencing and court appearances.


The rise in Indigenous imprisonment in NSW is due to a combination of higher rates of arrest resulting in conviction, a greater likelihood of imprisonment given conviction and a higher rate of bail refusal. The growth in number of arrests, percentage imprisoned and percentage bail refused has been especially large in the categories justice procedure offences and acts intended to cause injury. Most of the growth in justice procedure offences is coming from breach of custodial orders (e.g. breach of a community-based order) and breach of Apprehended Violence Orders. Most of the growth in acts intended to cause injury is coming from serious assault resulting in injury and stalking/intimidation.


Efforts to arrest growth in the Indigenous imprisonment rate should focus on measures which reduce the number of Indigenous persons being arrested and imprisoned for serious assault resulting in injury, stalking/intimidation and breach of community-based orders.

Download this publication