Indigenous over-representation in prison: a snapshot of the nation

Indigenous adults are increasingly over-represented in Australia's prison system. While the problem affects the whole nation, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have the highest rates of Indigenous prisoners.


Where has Indigenous over-representation in Australian prisons become worse? Source: SBS

The over-representation of Indigenous people in Australia's prisons is getting worse. Nationally, Indigenous people have increased from 20.9 per cent of all prisoners in 2004 to 27.4 per cent in 2014.

That's a 31 per cent increase.

The highest incarceration rate is in the Northern Territory, which also has the nation's largest proportion of Indigenous people compared to its total population.

However, Indigenous over-representation in prison is a problem facing every Australian state and territory.

Although the numbers vary between the states and territories, there is one trend they all have in common - the Indigenous incarceration rate has gone up everywhere.    

The totals on this page include people whose Indigenous status was unknown.

The numbers of prisoners include people in adult correctional facilities on June 30 each year.

In Queensland for all years and for Victoria for the years up to and including 2005, 'adult' refers to persons aged 17 years and over.

1 min read
Published 1 September 2015 at 12:55pm
By Jason Thomas
Source: SBS