The number of people in Australian prisons has increased for the fifth consecutive year, according to figures released this by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The data shows that there has been an 8% increase from the same time in 2015, and increases of 10 per cent and 7 per cent from the two previous years. Currently there are about 38,800 prisoners across Australia.
ABS Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said the increase in the Australian prisoner population over the past year was largely due to the increase in unsentenced prisoners. Unsentenced prisoners are those who are confined to custody on remand while awaiting the outcome of their trial.
“Ten years ago, one in five prisoners was unsentenced, whereas now, the unsentenced population has grown to account for one third of all prisoners.” Commented Mr Milne.
Over 50% of all unsentenced prisoners had an offence of either acts intended to cause injury , illicit drug offences or unlawful entry with intent.
Currently there are 4,382 people charged with offences related to sexual assault. 19% are indigenous and 81% are non-indigenous. For crimes related to illicit drugs and intent to cause harm there 13,590 charged, with 28% being indigenous and 72% non-indigenous.