Articles on State of Imprisonment

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Prisoners are released every day, but we don’t know how many. The lack of basic data is an obstacle to effective services that would minimise their risk of re-offending. AAP/Dean Lewins/Image digitally altered

Our $3b-a-year system is flying blind in supporting ex-prisoners

We simply don't know how many prisoners are released each year, nor their demographic characteristics. As a result, we cannot tailor services that would reduce ex-prisoners' risks of re-offending.
Rising imprisonment rates are the result of political responses to media and public agitation for tougher sentences. AAP/David Crosling

The evidence is in: you can’t link imprisonment to crime rates

Some claim rising crime rates justify jailing more people, others that such policies cut crime. Evidence from around the world shows those claims are wrong and that we should be looking at inequality.
Most of Tasmania’s relatively small prison population is housed at Risdon Prison Complex. Wikimedia Commons/'Risdon' by Wiki ian

State of imprisonment: Tasmania escapes ‘law and order’ infection

Imprisonment rates in Tasmania have steadily declined over the past decade -- the only state or territory where this has happened. That is a result of progressive and effective corrections policies.
Long Bay Correctional Centre was dubbed the ‘Long Bay Hilton’ by ‘tough on crime’ advocates whose campaigns helped fill prison cells to overflowing. Wikimedia Commons/J Bar

State of imprisonment: prisoners of NSW politics and perceptions

Most crime in NSW has been declining since the early 2000s, and the state's current murder rate is half what it was in 1988. So why is the NSW prison population growing?
Indigenous prisoners perform a welcome ceremony at the 2014 opening of Darwin’s $500 million prison, which is likely to be full by 2018. AAP/Neda Vanovac

State of imprisonment: if locking ‘em up is the goal, NT’s a success

The Northern Territory stands out for having one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world - much higher even than in the US - and it's hard to argue that this does the community much good.
The ACT’s new prison did not take long to fill up, which has tested the capacity of corrections authorities to live up to their stated high ideals. AAP/Lukas Coch

State of imprisonment: can ACT achieve a ‘human rights’ prison?

The ACT's first prison opened in 2009 with lofty ideals, but rising prisoner numbers and high rates of re-imprisonment are presenting a severe test of the capital's reformist corrections agenda.
Premier Colin Barnett addresses a rally outside Parliament House, the latest in a long history of protests at Indigenous deaths in custody and high rates of incarceration. AAP/Newzulu/Jesse Roberts

State of imprisonment: lopsided incarceration rates blight West

Indigenous people are jailed at a rate 18 times that of non-Aboriginal Western Australian adults, but the overall rate is high too. The great costs of this punitive approach yield few clear benefits.
Queensland’s reliance on high-security facilities to house a growing prison population may be linked to the nation’s highest rates of return for prisoners on parole. AAP/Dave Hunt

State of imprisonment: out one day, back the next in Queensland

Queensland's rates of imprisonment had been falling, but have undergone a sharp reversal - much of it driven by the nation's highest rates of return by prisoners released into the community.
In the past decade, the number of people ending up in South Australian prison cells has grown at seven times the rate of the state population. AAP/South Australian Correctional Services Department

State of imprisonment: South Australia’s prisoner numbers soar, with just 10% of budget for rehab

Since 2004, the number of prisoners in South Australia has risen seven times faster than the state's net population growth – and nearly doubled its rate of locking up Indigenous Australians.
Most Australian states are having to build more prisons to keep up with soaring rates of imprisonment. AAP/Dave Hunt

The state of imprisonment in Australia: it’s time to take stock

In a new series on imprisonment trends, issues and policies across Australia, The Conversation asks why are imprisonment rates soaring, to what purpose, and with what financial and human consequences?
In recent times, Victoria has reverted to the punitive approach that once filled the Old Melbourne Gaol, with little thought for the long-term consequences. Flickr/Eva

State of imprisonment: Victoria is leading the nation backwards

Victoria was once characterised by low imprisonment rates and innovative corrections policy. The state now has Australia's highest rate of growth in imprisonment.
The human and financial costs to Australia of following America’s lead in imprisoning more and more people are huge. Shutterstock/BortN66

Prisons policy is turning Australia into the second nation of captives

The US is the great incarcerator, spending US$60 billion a year on prisons, and Australia is sliding down the same path. The solution? Confine jails almost exclusively to sexual and violent offenders.

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