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Australias Prisoner Population: a Justice Re-investment Perspective Tony Butler PhD Head, Justice Health Research Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Australias Prisoner Population: a Justice Re-investment Perspective Tony Butler PhD Head, Justice Health Research Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Australias Prisoner Population: a Justice Re-investment Perspective Tony Butler PhD Head, Justice Health Research Program

2 Presentation Prisoner facts and figures – juvenile & adults Health status Challenges to Justice Reinvestment Future Justice Reinvestment research directions (IMHO)

3 Source: Juvenile Justice in Australia , AIHW.



6 Adult prisoner population – Australia* ~30,000 adult prisoners in full-time custody ~54,000 adults in community-based corrections ~500,000 former prisoners** Median age men 35.5 years Median age women 36.2 years 55% prior imprisonment Median imprisonment 38.9 months * Prisoner in Australia, ABS 2011 ** Martire K, Larney S. Inadequate data collection prevents health planning for released prisoners. MJA 2009;191:408-9.

7 Trend in the Australian prisoner population


9 Age distribution of adult prisoner population

10 Offence type


12 Source: world prison brief, Accessed 21 July International league table – incarceration rate

13 Adult Aboriginal prisoner population and rate, 2011* * Prisoners in Australia, 2011 ** Source: Dixon, B. 10 worst places to be black. Wisconsin ** Iowa** Texas** Oklahoma** Arizona**

14 73% women, 53% men – IDU 22% ICD-10 alcohol use disorder 85% current tobacco smokers Prisoner health overview 49% women, 16% men – childhood sex abuse 60% women, 14% men - sexually coerced 46% receptions ICD-10 mental health problem 26% ICD-10 diagnosis of PTSD 16% currently on psychiatric medication 82% TBI (64% w/LOC) <1% HIV antibody positive 22% HCV antibody positive (4%-40%) 19% HBV antibody positive (9%-39%) 41% unimmunised against HBV 2% treated for HCV

15 Mortality in New South Wales prisoners * Data-linkage study 85,203 men and women (90% men) 7,980 men Indigenous men and 1,373 Indigenous women Age 27 years Over 5000 deaths between 1988 and 2002 (558 Indigenous deaths) All-cause SMR 3.7 men and 7.8 women * Kariminia A, Butler T, et al. Extreme cause specific mortality among adults who have served time in prison: A cohort study. Int J Epidemiology. 2007;36:310–6 NSW Aboriginal men - 12,161 years in prison (4,441,805 days) NSW Aboriginal women - 1,032 years in prison (376,938 days) Australia - Aboriginal men 64,005 years in prison (23,377,922 days) Australia - Aboriginal women 5,432 years in prison (1,983,884 days)

16 $ 5,072,361,316

17 The mood and temper of the public with regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country (Winston Churchill, 1910)


19 Jurisdictional comments - New South Wales Community order completion rate high (81%) Introduction of Intensive Correction Order (ICO) to replace periodic detention Launched new Aboriginal Strategic Plan (includes affordable Aboriginal housing project)


21 Jurisdictional comment - Victoria …commitment for an extra 500 beds over four years …development of a detailed business case for a new male prison…… Ongoing construction of a 350 bed expansion of the Ararat prison…

22 Jurisdictional comment - Queensland …completion of the first stage of the redevelopment of the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre delivering 300 new cells as associated services… …by ensuring prisoners are securely and humanely contained…..modify cells at Arthur Gorrie,…..and Numinbah

23 Jurisdictional comment – South Australia agenda of change for improved service delivery firmly based on evidence-based practice aimed to enhance public safety. It is particularly pleasing that South Australia continues to report a reduction in offenders returning to prison …..compared to the national average Commissioned a new 36 bed unit for low security prisoners at Port Lincoln Prison….. Commenced construction of a 80-bed high-security cellblock at Port Augusta Prison…..

24 Jurisdictional comment – Tasmania..ten year strategic plan for the Tasmanian corrections system, Breaking the Cycle…. …Prison Infrastructure Redevelopment Program…

25 Jurisdictional comment – Northern Territory..implementing significant policy reform aimed at reducing recidivism under the New Era in Corrections …extremely low levels of literacy and numeracy……prisoners attend basic literacy and numeracy courses.....NT Government has entered into a Project Deed …for the design, construction and finance of the new Darwin Correctional Precinct…

26 Jurisdictional comment – ACT ….independent review….many positive findings…

27 Jurisdictional comment – Western Australia To meet the predicted continued growth in the prisoner population, the Department has completed an intensive construction program during 2010/11 to expand operational capacity across the prison system by 844 beds. Therefore, the Custodial Infrastructure Program, initiated in 2009, will have added 2,661 beds to the system when it is completed. Included in this project is the creation of an 80-bed Young Adults Facility designed specifically for year old males, recognising the unique needs of this age group and focussing on creating pathways out of offending.

28 Challenges to implementing JR Do politicians have the will for Justice Re-investment? Do the public have the will for Justice Re-investment? More cost benefit analyses and economic modelling to support the JR approach National approach difficult due to state & territory variations More pilot schemes across Australia Proper evaluations and good evidence

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