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East Perth

Sample

Throughout 2009 and 2010, 1,771 detainees were interviewed at East Perth watch-house. The majority (81%) were males and the average age was 30 years (see Table 51). Male and female detainees were, on average, the same age (30 years).

Overall, the number of detainees surveyed in 2010 declined by nine percent compared with 2009, although this decrease was not equal for men and women. In 2010, there was a seven percent decrease in the number of women surveyed and a 17 percent decrease in the number of men surveyed compared with the figures for 2009. This decrease was largely due to a decline in the number of detainees processed during the DUMA interview hours in 2010, although, overall, the number of detainees surveyed and processed in 2009 and 2010 were notably higher when compared with recent years.

The average age of detainees increased modestly from 29 years in 2009 to 30 years in 2010. In 2010, the average age of both male detainees and female detainees in East Perth increased by one year since 2009 (from 30 years to 31 years for males and from 29 years to 30 years for females).

Offending

In 2009–10, detainees in East Perth were arrested and detained for a total of 4,841 charges. Consistent with previous years, the average number of charges per detainee was three and the maximum was 10. Charges for the breach of a justice order were those most frequently recorded, comprising 28 percent of all charges for the period. This was followed by violent offences (18%), property offences (17%), road and traffic offences (9%), disorder offences (9%), drug offences (6%) and drink driving offences (2%). A further 557 charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise classified into the categories listed above (see Table 52).

The most serious offence classification—an approach that categorises each offender according to the most serious charge listed on their charge sheet—has been used consistently since 1999. In East Perth, 32 percent of detainees in 2009–10 were classified as most serious violent offenders, having at least one violent offence recorded on their charge sheet. Of the remaining 68 percent, 22 percent were breach offenders, 16 percent were property offenders, 10 percent were disorder offenders, seven percent were road and traffic offenders, five percent were drug offenders and four percent were drink driving offenders. A further four percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 52). From 2009 to 2010, the most notable change to occur in the offence classifications was a 19 percentage point increase in the proportion detained for a breach offence. Overall, the proportion of detainees charged with a violent offence and the proportion charged with a property offence have remained relatively consistent in recent years, while the proportion of breach offenders in 2010 was notably higher than at any stage in the history of the East Perth DUMA site.

By gender, one in three male detainees was in custody for a violent offence (34%), with violence being the single most frequently recorded offence type, followed by breach (23%), property (15%) and disorder offences (10%). Female detainees were less likely than males to be detained for a violent offence (24%) and more likely to be detained for a property (23%) or disorder offence (13%).

Prior criminal justice contact

For more than half of the East Perth detainees in 2009–10, the current episode of contact with the police was not an isolated incident: 57 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the previous 12 months (see Table 53). In 2010, however, there was a decrease of seven percentage points in the proportion of detainees that reported a recent history of police contact when compared with 2009 (53%, down from 60% in 2009). Yet, overall, the 2009 and 2010 results were not notably different to any other period of data collection. Male detainees were slightly more likely than female detainees to have been previously charged with an offence (57% cf 55%).

One in five detainees in East Perth (19%) throughout 2009–10 had spent time in prison in the previous 12 months. Males and females were almost equally likely to report a recent prison history (19% cf 18%). Compared with 2009, there was a substantial decrease of nine percentage points in the proportion of detainees reporting a recent prison history in 2010 (14% cf 23% in 2009) and overall this was notably lower than in any previous year of data collection.

Education, housing and employment

For more than half (53%) of the East Perth sample in 2009–10, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained (see Table 54). One in four detainees (25%) had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification—results that were generally consistent between male and female detainees. Overall, the level of education attained in 2009 and 2010 was not notably different when compared with earlier years. For male detainees, the most notable change in 2010 was a modest increase in overall scholastic achievement (an increase of five percentage points in the proportion of detainees for whom Year 10 was the highest level of education attained) compared with 2009. For female detainees, the level of education remained relatively consistent from 2009 to 2010.

Nearly all detainees (90%) throughout 2009–10 reported most recently residing in a private residence (in the 30 days before their arrest). This figure was divided almost equally between those who lived in a privately owned or rented residence (41%) and those who lived in a residence owned or rented by someone else (49%). A small number of detainees (6%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 54). Overall, there was no notable difference when comparing the 2009–10 housing situation to previous years. The housing situation of both male and female detainees in 2009–10 was generally consistent except that, though the numbers are small, the proportion of female detainees living with no fixed address was higher than for male detainees (6% cf 4%).

In 2009–10, one in four detainees (26%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest and 142 detainees (8%) were employed part-time. The remaining 1,163 detainees (66%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 602 (34%) were looking for work;
  • 292 (16%) were not looking for work;
  • 149 (8%) were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment;
  • 86 (5%) were full-time homemakers; and
  • 34 (2%) were retired or studying (see Table 54).

The most notable change that occurred between 2009 and 2010 was a five percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees that reported being employed full-time (29% cf 24%). Overall, the level of employment in 2009 and 2010 was not notably different when compared with earlier years.

Male detainees in 2009–10 were more likely to be employed full-time or part-time (39%) than female detainees (16%), who were more likely to be unemployed and not looking for work (24% cf 15% for males) or not working because of their role as a full-time homemaker (20% cf 1% for males). There were only modest changes in the employment status of detainees from 2009 to 2010. For male detainees in 2010, the proportion engaged in full-time employment declined by four percentage points (29%). For females, the proportion engaged in full-time or part time employment declined by nine percentage points in 2010 (11%).

Drug use

Urinalysis screening was conducted for five drug classes—amphetamines, benzodiazepine, cannabis, cocaine and opiates—and secondary screening tests were conducted for the opiate pharmacotherapy substances methadone and buprenorphine. In addition, confirmatory analysis was conducted for samples positive to amphetamines and opiates (not including pharmacotherapies). Opiates were then classified as either heroin or other opiates (including prescription opiates). Amphetamines were classified as methamphetamine, MDMA, or other amphetamines (including prescription amphetamines).

Of the 1,223 detainees who provided a urine sample throughout 2009–10, 70 percent tested positive to at least one drug type. Overall, this rate of drug use in 2009–10 was notably lower when compared with any previous year at East Perth. This was primarily driven by a large decline in the use of amphetamines since 2008 (20% in 2009–10 cf 35% in 2008). The drug most commonly detected throughout 2009–10 was cannabis (55%), followed by amphetamines (20%), benzodiazepines (20%), methamphetamine (18%) and opiates (15%). Only two detainees tested positive to cocaine across 2009 and 2010 (<1%). Of those who tested positive to amphetamines, the majority were confirmed to have used methamphetamine (18%), while only 11 detainees had used MDMA (1%) and 17 detainees tested positive to another amphetamine type substance (1%). Of those who tested positive to an opiate-based substance, six percent tested positive to heroin, four percent tested positive to methadone, six percent tested positive to buprenorphine and six percent tested positive to other opiate-based substances (see Table 55).

In 2009–10, female detainees were more likely than male detainees to test positive to amphetamines (27% cf 18%), opiates (21% cf 14%) and benzodiazepines (30% cf 17%). Conversely, male detainees were only slightly more likely than females to test positive to cannabis (55% cf 51%). Positive urinalysis results in 2010 were almost identical with the results for the proportion of detainees testing positive to at least one drug in the previous year (71% cf 70% in 2009). There were no notable changes in drug use from 2009 to 2010: positive results for all categories of drug were stable, with only a one percentage point increase in positive cannabis tests (up to 55%), a two percentage point increase in positive amphetamines tests (up to 19%) and no notable change in heroin use (6% each year) or buprenorphine use (6% each year).

Self-reported alcohol use

Alcohol use among detainees cannot be reliably tested using urinalysis. Instead, the DUMA survey relies on a range of questions regarding recent and lifetime alcohol use, including whether the detainee had consumed alcohol in the 48 hours before their arrest. Overall, in 2009–10, 54 percent of detainees reported drinking in the previous 48 hours (see Table 56), which was consistent when compared with previous years. Male detainees were substantially more likely to have been drinking than female detainees (57% cf 42%) and rates of recent alcohol consumption were relatively unchanged from 2009 to 2010.

Alcohol consumption patterns

In the third quarter of 2009, changes were made to the DUMA survey in an effort to capture a wider range of information about detainees’ alcohol consumption. In particular, an alcohol consumption grid was developed to identify both the type and quantity of alcohol consumed during the last episode of drinking. Units of consumption can therefore be disaggregated both by size and strength so that standard drink estimates can be developed. In all, 78 percent of detainees had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before their arrest. On the last occasion of drinking in 2009–10, 29 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, 10 percent had consumed wine only and 36 percent had consumed spirits only. It was not uncommon for detainees to have mixed different types of alcohol: the remaining 25 percent reported having consumed at least two types of alcohol on the last occasion.

In terms of quantity, the average number of standard drinks consumed in 2009–10 on the last occasion was 16. Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of 10 standard drinks, wine-only drinkers drank an average of 20 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed an average of 11 standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 28 standard drinks. Although these figures are high, it is important to note that the length of time spent drinking on the last occasion would vary from person to person.

By gender, female detainees were more likely than males to have most recently consumed spirits or wine, while males were more likely than females to drink beer. More than half of all female detainees who had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days had consumed spirits only on the last occasion (52% cf 33% for males), whereas one in three males had consumed beer only (32% cf 14% for females). Except in the case of wine, the quantity of alcohol consumed on the last occasion was, on average, higher among males than females across all alcohol types (see Table 56).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2009–10, 144 detainees at East Perth reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 13 percent of those who had used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months. Treatment options included support groups, counselling and pharmacotherapy. A further 380 detainees had been previously in a treatment program but were no longer in treatment at the time of their arrest. Of those currently in treatment, almost one in four (24%) had been referred by the courts or police or as a result of a legal order. The remaining three quarters were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 57). Overall, treatment access in 2010 improved, with a four percentage point increase since 2009 (15% cf 11%), although this was not substantially different when compared with earlier years.

Questions relevant to the mental health of detainees were revised in the third quarter of 2009. In the first two quarters, detainees were asked whether they had stayed overnight in a psychiatric or psychological services unit on at least one occasion in the last 12 months. Beginning in the third quarter of 2009, detainees were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issue (that is, not just in the last 12 months). Overall, 15 detainees (3%) reported at least one overnight stay in a psychiatric unit and 311 detainees (38%) reported having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (see Table 58).

Though the numbers are small, male detainees were slightly more likely to report an overnight stay in a psychiatric unit (4% cf 2% for females) and female detainees were more likely to report having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (50% cf 34% for males). Given that the new questions regarding mental health diagnosis were first implemented in the third quarter of 2009, reliable trend data is not yet available.

Linking drugs and crime

The link between drugs and crime is measured in the DUMA study using a range of indicators, including the extent to which drug use varies between offenders of different offence types and the extent to which an offender reports that drugs or alcohol were a factor that contributed to their most recent offending.

Of the 1,216 respondents who provided a urine sample throughout 2009–10 and were charged with an offence, 70 percent tested positive to at least on type of drug. The test positive rate from 2009 to 2010 was consistent, although this was substantially lower when compared with previous years. The prevalence of recent drug use varied by most serious offence type, with drug offenders (89%) most likely to test positive to at least one drug type and drink driving offenders the least likely (65%). Test positive rates for other offenders were:

  • 66 percent for violent offenders;
  • 78 percent for property offenders;
  • 68 percent for breach offenders; and
  • 69 percent for disorder offenders.

Test positive rates varied by offence type across 2009 and 2010. For example, there was an 11 percentage point increase in the proportion of drug offenders testing positive to any drug (95% cf 84% in 2009) and an eight percentage point decrease in the proportion of drinking driving offenders testing positive to any drug (60% cf 68%). Overall, the proportion of violent offenders who tested positive to any drug was notably lower than when compared with earlier years, while the test positive rates for property, breach and disorder offenders remained relatively consistent over the years.

Although the prevalence of drug use varied somewhat between offenders depending on their offence, the pattern of use by drug type was relatively consistent. In all cases throughout 2009–10, the drug most commonly used among detainees was cannabis, followed by either amphetamines or benzodiazepines and opiates. Violent offenders and disorder offenders all had higher rates of benzodiazepine use than amphetamines use. The opposite was true for property, drug and drink driving and road and traffic offenders. Breach offenders had equal levels of benzodiazepine and amphetamines use. Property and drug offenders also had equal levels of opiate and benzodiazepine use (see Table 59).

In mid-2009, a set of new questions was developed in an effort to identify the relationship between substance use (drugs and/or alcohol) and the offences for which detainees were currently in custody. Nearly half of all respondents (45%) confirmed that their substance use contributed to their current offences. By most serious offence, those detained on a drink driving offence had the highest level of combined drug/alcohol attribution (67%), followed by drug offenders (53%), violent offenders (51%), property offenders (45%), disorder offenders (45%), breach offenders (39%) and road and traffic offenders (28%). Alcohol was more likely than other substances to be identified by violent, drink driving, road and traffic, disorder and breach offenders as a contributing factor, whereas other substances such as heroin and amphetamines were more likely than alcohol to be implicated by property and drug offenders (see Table 59).

Table 51: East Perth DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Age
18–20 240 17 49 15 289 16
21–25 328 23 76 23 404 23
26–30 292 20 76 23 368 21
31–35 199 14 47 14 246 14
36+ 377 26 87 26 464 26
Total 1,436 335 1,771
Min/max age 18/75 18/60 18/75
Mean age (median) 30(28) 30(28) 30(28)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 52: East Perth DUMA sample, by offending and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
ChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offence
n%n%n%n%n%n%
Charges recorded
Violent 780 20 483 34 114 12 80 24 894 18 563 32
Property 592 15 212 15 213 22 77 23 805 17 289 16
Drug 207 5 68 5 72 8 23 7 279 6 91 5
Drink driving 78 2 53 4 15 2 12 4 93 2 65 4
Traffic 349 9 97 7 81 9 23 7 430 9 120 7
Disorder 332 9 137 10 85 9 43 13 417 9 180 10
Breach 1,112 29 323 23 254 27 64 19 1,366 28 387 22
Other 443 11 54 4 114 12 11 3 557 12 65 4
Total 3,893 1,427 948 333 4,841 1,760

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 53: East Perth DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 770 57 165 55 935 57
No 573 43 133 45 706 43
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 267 19 56 18 323 19
No 1,136 81 262 82 1,398 81

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 54: East Perth DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Education
Year 10 or less 752 52 186 56 938 53
Year 11 or 12 310 22 72 22 382 22
TAFE/university not completed 131 9 35 10 166 9
Completed TAFE 193 13 31 9 224 13
Completed university 49 3 10 3 59 3
Total 1,435 334 1,769
Housing
Private house/apartment 573 40 151 45 724 41
Someone else’s place 722 50 154 46 876 49
Shelter or emergency 8 1 3 1 11 1
Incarceration facility/halfway house 10 1 2 1 12 1
Treatment facility 8 1 0 0 8 0
No fixed residence 61 4 20 6 81 5
Other 54 4 5 1 59 3
Total 1,436 335 1,771
Employment
Full-time 442 31 24 7 466 26
Part-time 113 8 29 9 142 8
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 131 9 18 5 149 8
Looking for work 492 34 110 33 602 34
Not looking for work 213 15 79 24 292 16
Full-time homemakers 20 1 66 20 86 5
Retired or studying 25 2 9 3 34 2
Total 1,436 335 1,771

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 55: East Perth DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Provided urine
Yes 1,006 70 217 65 1,223 69
No 430 30 118 35 548 31
Test results
Cannabis 556 55 111 51 667 55
Cocaine 2 0 0 0 2 0
Methamphetamine 167 17 53 24 220 18
MDMA 10 1 1 0 11 1
Other amphetamines 12 1 5 2 17 1
(Any amphetamines)a (183) (18) (58) (27) (241) (20)
Heroin 56 6 15 7 71 6
Methadone 29 3 15 7 44 4
Buprenorphine 48 5 22 10 70 6
Other opiates 53 5 15 7 68 6
(Any opiate)b (141) (14) (45) (21) (186) (15)
Benzodiazepines 174 17 65 30 239 20
Any drug 702 70 160 74 862 70
Any drug other than cannabis 363 36 110 51 473 39
Multiple drugs 262 26 83 38 345 28

a: Detainees may test positive to more than one class of amphetamine

b: Detainees may test positive to more than one class of opiate

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 56: East Perth DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 810 57 141 42 951 54
Past 30 daysa, b 846 81 149 6,287 995 78
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasionb
Beer only 270 32 20 14 290 29
Wine only 77 9 27 18 104 10
Spirits only 277 33 77 52 354 36
Mixed drinksc 223 26 24 16 247 25
MaleFemaleTotal
nmean (median)nmean (median)nmean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)b
Beer only 269 10(6) 20 6(3) 289 10(6)
Wine only 77 19(9) 27 22(7) 104 20(7)
Spirits only 275 11(7) 77 10(6) 352 11(7)
Mixed drinksc 223 29(23) 24 19(14) 247 28(22)

a: Only if consumed alcohol in the past 30 days

b: Data are quarter 3 2009 onwards only

c: ‘Mixed drinks’ refers to consuming more than one type of alcohol

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 57: East Perth DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2009–10a, b
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Treatment
Never been in treatment 496 55 110 48 606 54
Been in, but not currently in treatment 307 34 73 32 380 34
Currently in treatment 100 11 44 19 144 13
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 9 9 5 11 14 10
Court diversion scheme 10 10 2 5 12 8
Police diversion scheme 1 1 0 0 1 1
Other legal order 5 5 2 5 7 5
Otherc 73 74 35 80 108 76

a: Treatment options include detoxification, rehabilitation program/therapeutic community, outpatient/counselling services, support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous etc), methadone maintenance, naltrexone, buprenorphine and general practitioners

b: Only of those who had used drugs or alcohol in the past 12 months

c: ‘Other’ refers to ‘referral from general practitioner or health professional’ and ‘self-referral’

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 58: East Perth DUMA sample, by mental health and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Overnight stay in psychiatric/psychological services unit (past 12 months)a
Yes 13 4 2 2 15 3
No 339 96 80 98 419 97
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issueb
Yes 357 34 118 50 475 37
No 683 66 116 50 799 63

a: Data are for quarter 1 and quarter 2 2009 only

b: Data are for quarter 3 2009 onwards only

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 59: East Perth DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2009–10a
ViolentPropertyDrugDrink drivingTrafficDisorderBreachOtherTotal
(n=405)%(n=196)%(n=53)%(n=48)%(n=77)%(n=131)%(n=259)%(n=47)%(n=1,216)%
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 210 52 86 44 30 57 26 54 47 61 62 47 119 46 25 53 605 50
Cocaine 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0
Amphetaminesb 69 17 51 26 24 45 8 17 23 30 9 7 45 17 10 21 239 20
Opiatesc 44 11 45 23 16 30 5 10 17 22 13 10 38 15 5 11 183 15
Benzodiazepines 77 19 46 23 16 30 7 15 14 18 24 18 45 17 8 17 237 19
(Any drug) 266 66 152 78 47 89 31 65 60 78 90 69 175 68 35 74 856 70
(Any drug other than cannabis) 139 34 92 47 34 64 19 40 37 48 38 29 91 35 19 40 469 39
(Multiple drugs) 107 26 71 36 27 51 9 19 26 34 24 18 67 26 11 23 342 28
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond, e
Alcohol 147 37 48 23 11 17 27 64 14 17 49 38 104 30 3 25 403 31
Other drugs 86 22 56 27 27 41 3 7 10 12 15 12 53 15 0 0 250 20
Any attribution 200 51 93 45 35 53 28 67 23 28 58 45 137 39 3 25 577 45

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

d: Data are from quarter 3 2009 onwards only

e: Missing data excluded from analysis

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 14: Test positive trends, males by drug type, East Perth 1999–2010 (%)

 Test positive trends, males by drug type, East Perth 1999–2010 (%)

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 15: Test positive trends, females by drug type, East Perth 1999–2010 (%)

 Test positive trends, females by drug type, East Perth 1999–2010 (%)

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]