SBS Punjabi

How adult correctional system works in Australia?

SBS Punjabi

Behind bars

Behind bars Source: Getty Images/Andrew Merry


Published 14 April 2022 at 1:48pm
By Melissa Compagnoni
Presented by Paras Nagpal
Source: SBS

Adults who commit criminal offences are held in one of Australia’s 115 correctional facilities. Prisons are the harshest form of correctional facility, not only for those in custody but also for the families left behind.


Published 14 April 2022 at 1:48pm
By Melissa Compagnoni
Presented by Paras Nagpal
Source: SBS


Australia has 115 correctional facilities. These are both privately and government-run. While justice systems across the states and territories are similar, each jurisdiction manages its own facilities.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects detailed information on Australia’s adult prison population. William Milne is Director of the ABS National Centre of Crime and Justice Statistics.

“In June 2021 we had 43,000 prisoners in the adult correction system, and of those just over 15,000 were on remand awaiting trial. Ninety-two per cent are males versus eight per cent females. On average, sentenced prisoners spend three and a half years in prison. And for those on remand awaiting trial it’s 3.4 months.”

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It’s important to acknowledge the disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison. Many complex factors contribute to the alarming rates, such as historic trauma and generational disadvantage.

William Milne from the ABS has the statistics.

“We found that the rate of total persons in the prison system was 214 adults per 100,000 adult population. And if I just take the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, we’re looking at 2,412 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in the system per 100,000 Aboriginal persons, so it’s about ten times the rate of the average population.”

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