This report is only available in hardcopy. To request a hardcopy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Australia, as elsewhere in the world, prisoners are among the most stigmatised and often socially excluded citizens in the community, characterised by extreme socio-economic and psychological disadvantage. Typically, those exposed to the criminal justice system are poorly educated, unemployed, socially isolated and financially dependent with high levels of physical ill health, psychiatric illness, violence and engagement in risky behaviours such as alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. The prisoner population is predominantly male (92% compared with 49% of the general adult population) and relatively young, with over two-thirds (68%) being aged under 40 years, compared with approximately 38% of the general adult population. In just one year, since 2013, the imprisonment rate has increased 10%. Indigenous offender numbers contributed significantly to those rates, accounting for 27% of the total prisoner population, which at 2,241 per 100,000 represents a rate of more than 16 times higher than that for non-Indigenous Australians.
Dr Clarke Jones & Dr Jill Guthrie