Closing the Gap

Adults are not overrepresented in the criminal justice system

10
Adults are not overrepresented in the criminal justice system

Outcome

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not overrepresented in the criminal justice system.

Target

By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration by at least 15 per cent.

Summary on Target

Target: By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration by at least 15 per cent.
Domain: Children, families and justice
Outcome: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not overrepresented in the criminal justice system.
Numerator: Number of Indigenous Australians aged 18 and over in prison custody on June 30 in a given year.
Denominator: Number of Indigenous Australians aged 18 and over at 30 June in a given year.
Computation: 100,000 x (numerator ÷ denominator)
  • The denominator is derived from ABS Indigenous population estimates and projections (series B) based on the 2016 Census.
  • Rates are age-standardised, using the total Australian estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2001 based on the 2001 Census as the standard population.
Data source: National Prisoner Census.
See ABS publication Prisoners in Australia, 2019 for details.
Notes:
  • Data are sourced from the National Prisoner Census on prisoners held in custody in Australian adult prisons in all states and territories at 30 June in the given year.
  • Prior to 2019, in Queensland, the ‘adult’ prison population included those aged 17.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Baseline data

Baseline data for the target measure is presented below at a national level, and for each state and territory where available. This will show starting points for each target, by jurisdiction.

Table 10.1: Adult Incarceration, age standardised imprisonment rate(a), 2009–2019(b)(c)

Indigenous rate per 100,000 population
Year NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS ACT NT Australia
2009 1,575.9 707.6 1,219.7 2,832.6 1,730.8 390.9 591.6 1,708.9 1,545.5
2010 1,511.8 821.8 1,243.2 2,851.0 1,792.8 386.7 887.1 1,731.9 1,551.8
2011 1,458.2 843.9 1,213.3 2,663.1 1,878.4 422.2 839.1 2,021.6 1,539.3
2012 1,381.2 1,059.9 1,187.3 2,914.5 1,846.9 410.5 943.4 2,240.7 1,580.5
2013 1,409.1 1,103.7 1,336.8 2,860.1 1,886.3 400.9 1,306.3 2,307.3 1,637.3
2014 1,501.3 1,339.3 1,531.2 2,945.9 2,050.2 404.1 1,225.3 2,352.7 1,761.6
2015 1,681.4 1,343.0 1,554.2 3,019.1 2,287.0 420.7 1,484.9 2,435.7 1,856.9
2016 1,759.5 1,492.9 1,603.8 3,350.6 2,047.4 509.8 1,882.3 2,467.7 1,943.4
2017 1,828.3 1,613.0 1,762.8 3,467.1 2,511.8 640.6 1,681.8 2,348.3 2,045.7
2018 1,895.5 1,781.4 1,731.8 3,684.9 2,337.9 621.7 1,928.0 2,548.8 2,112.5
2019 1,684.2 2,132.9 1,824.6 3,572.8 2,397.4 729.4 1,707.3 2,438.4 2,087.5
Non-Indigenous rate per 100,000 population
Year NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS ACT NT Australia
2009 166.4 103.2 131.4 162.6 134.9 145.6 62.6 149.4 137.2
2010 163.6 104.5 125.0 175.7 132.9 129.3 81.6 162.6 136.6
2011 150.4 108.0 122.1 168.5 134.8 133.8 84.2 173.5 132.5
2012 141.3 107.6 120.4 169.8 139.0 128.6 85.4 170.6 129.5
2013 142.8 115.7 126.0 161.5 152.3 128.4 92.5 141.4 132.9
2014 151.1 129.0 143.3 171.6 165.3 117.9 103.5 155.2 144.4
2015 166.1 128.6 148.6 185.4 179.3 138.1 99.9 179.3 152.9
2016 175.7 131.0 155.6 212.0 203.8 150.2 105.0 189.5 162.4
2017 179.0 139.8 167.5 228.8 198.8 150.7 108.6 183.8 169.4
2018 184.3 145.5 175.2 225.4 197.3 156.6 111.8 205.4 173.7
2019 180.4 147.3 170.1 230.2 182.9 170.2 109.1 215.3 173.2

Source

ABS Prisoners in Australia 2019

Notes

  1. This table shows the age-standardised imprisonment rate of Australians aged 18. Imprisonment rates are expressed per 100,000 adult population.
  2. Data for Indigenous prisoners is age standardised against against a standard population to account for age differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.
  3. Data reported are for financial years, but for the purpose of this table, the financial years are matched to a calendar year by selecting the calendar year in which the financial year ends (for example, 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 data are treated as 2011 calendar year data).

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National Target Trajectory

The national target trajectories presented below reflect the possible rate of progress over the next decade to achieve the target. In practice, the rate of progress is unlikely to be the same from year to year.

The target trajectory can be compared with the two related trajectories: the projected rates of progress for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians based on the assumption the historic rate of change will continue into the future.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Source

AIHW analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Prisoner Census data.

Summary Table On Trajectory Chart

Line label Line Method/assumptions Annual change (percentage points) 2031 rate (%)
Historical trend: Non-Indigenous rate

Green solid
Green solid

Age standardised rates of non-Indigenous adults in prison custody on June 30 in a given year, 14 data points (2006–2019 inclusive). 3 . .
Continuation of 2019 non-Indigenous rate

Green dashed
Green dashed

Fixed rate for non-Indigenous Australians assumed at 2019 level for all future years. 0.0
(capped at 2019 rate)
173
Historical trend: Indigenous rate

Orange solid
Orange solid

Age standardised rates of Indigenous adults in prison custody on June 30 in a given year, 14 data points (2006–2019 inclusive). 61 . .
Continuation of historical trend: Indigenous

Orange dashed
Orange dashed

Straight line projection based on linear regression of historical data for Indigenous Australians (using 14 data points)(a). 61 2,835
Target trajectory

Light blue dashed
Light blue dashed

Straight line projection from 2016 value to the target rate in 2031. -26 1,774

. . = not applicable.

  1. Based on a linear regression of historical data. As such, the projection captures drivers of historical growth rates such as population growth or government funding. Doing projections in this manner assumes that the drivers of growth will not vary greatly into the future.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Source

AIHW analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Prisoner Census data.