Australian Institute of Criminology

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Footscray

Sample

In 2009–10, 507 detainees were interviewed at Footscray police station. The majority (77%) were males and the average age was 31 years (see Table 60). Male detainees were, on average, two years older than female detainees (32 years cf 30 years).

Overall, the number of detainees surveyed in 2009 and 2010 was almost identical but for a modest increase of seven detainees in 2010. Overall, the number of detainees surveyed in both 2009 and 2010 was not substantially different when compared with the previous year’s data.

The average age of detainees decreased by one year between 2009 and 2010, to 31 years of age in 2010. The age of both male and female detainees decreased by one year since 2009 (32 years cf 31 years for males and 31 years cf 30 years for females).

Offending

In 2009 and 2010, Footscray detainees were arrested and detained for a total of 722 charges. The average number of charges per detainee was two—on average one charge more when compared with previous years—while the maximum was 10. Charges for property offences were those most frequently recorded, comprising 40 percent of all charges for the period, followed by drug offences (24%), violent offences (13%), breach offences (6%), road and traffic offences (5%), disorder offences (3%) and drink driving offences (2%). A further 55 charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 61). The most notable change to occur between 2009 and 2010 was an eight percentage point increase in the proportion of breaches recorded (2% cf 10% in 2010).

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 Footscray in 2009–10, 45 percent of detainees were classified as a most serious property offender, having at least one property offence recorded on their charge sheet. Of the remaining 55 percent, 26 percent were drug offenders, 16 percent were violent offenders, two percent were road and traffic offenders, two percent were drink driving traffic offenders, two percent were disorder offenders and one percent were breach offenders. A further five percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 61). From 2009 to 2010, there was a five percentage point increase in the proportion of detainees with a violent offence (14% cf 19%) and a four percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees with a drug charge (28% cf 24%). Overall, the proportions of violent, property and drug offences have stayed relatively consistent when compared with earlier years.

As noted earlier, property offences (45%) were the single largest offence type recorded, followed by drug offences (26%) and violent offences (16%). By gender, two in five male detainees were in custody for a property offence (42%). It should be noted that female detainees were more likely than males to be detained for a property offence (55%) but were less likely to be detained for a violent offence (14% cf for 17% for males) or a drug offence (24% cf 21% for males).

Prior criminal justice contact

For more than half of the Footscray detainees in 2009–10, the current episode of contact with the police was not an isolated incident: 52 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the previous 12 months (see Table 62). This was consistent between 2009 and 2010, where almost identical levels of a recent history of police contact were reported (52% and 53%). Overall, the figure was also consistent with earlier years. By gender, female detainees were slightly more likely than male detainees to have been previously charged (55% cf 51%).

In 2009–10, fewer than one in five detainees in Footscray (16%) had spent time in prison in the previous 12 months (see Table 62). Male detainees were slightly more likely than female detainees to report a recent prison history (16% cf 14%). From 2009 to 2010, there was a three percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees that reported a recent prison history (17% cf 14% in 2010). However, overall, the proportion that reported a recent prison history in 2009–10 was not notably different when compared with earlier years.

Education, housing and employment

For nearly half (46%) of the Footscray sample throughout 2009–10, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained (see Table 63). One-third of detainees (32%) had also attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification—results that varied between male and female detainees and between years. The most notable changes in detainees’ education levels between 2009 and 2010 included a 22 percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees having Year 10 as their highest level of education (57% cf 35% in 2010) and a 25 percentage point increase in the proportion of detainees having attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (20% cf 45% in 2010). These results indicate a substantial improvement in the scholastic achievement of detainees between 2009 and 2010.

By gender, the most notable change among male detainees from 2009 to 2010 was an increase in overall scholastic achievement (a decrease of 23 percentage points in the proportion having Year 10 as the highest level of education attained and a similar increase in the proportion that had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification) compared with the previous year. For female detainees, the most notable changes when compared with the previous year was a 19 percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees having completed Year 10 or less and a 30 percentage point increase in the proportion that had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification.

Nearly all detainees (88%) 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 (39%) and those who lived in a residence owned or rented by someone else (49%). A small number of detainees (7%) reported living at another household location—including for example, a caravan park or boarding house (see Table 63). Overall, the housing situation in 2009–10 was consistent when compared with previous years.

Fewer than one in five detainees (18%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while 55 detainees (11%) were employed part-time. The remaining 359 detainees (71%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 157 (31%) were looking for work;
  • 102 (20%) were not looking for work;
  • 54 (11%) were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment;
  • 30 (6%) were full-time homemakers; and
  • 16 (3%) were retired or studying.

The most notable change in employment status to occur from 2009 to 2010 was a seven percentage point increase in the proportion of detainees working full-time (15% cf 22%), although, overall, the proportion of detainees working full-time in 2009–10 was not notably different when compared with earlier years. However, the proportion of detainees reporting that they were disabled and unable to work was notably lower when compared with previous years.

Male detainees were more likely than female detainees to be employed full-time or part-time (33% cf 15%) or unemployed and looking for work (33% cf 25%), while female detainees were more likely than male detainees to be in the role of a full-time homemaker (23% cf 1%). There have been only modest changes in the employment status of male and female detainees from 2009 to 2010. For male detainees, the proportion engaged in either full-time or part-time employment in 2010 increased by 14 percentage points (30%). For females, the proportion of detainees who were disabled and unable to work in 2010 increased by nine percentage points (12%).

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 333 detainees that provided a urine sample throughout 2009 and 2010, 77 percent tested positive to at least one drug type, which was not notably different when compared with earlier years—although it should be noted that, in 2009, 83 percent of detainees in Footscray tested positive to a drug, which was 11 percentage points higher than the level in 2010 (72%) and is the peak rate of drug use since data has been collected in Footscray. This substantial decline in drug use from 2009 to 2010 may be attributable to a large decline in the use of opiates, by 14 percentage points (67% cf 53%). Despite this substantial decline, opiates (60%) were still the drug most commonly detected throughout 2009 and 2010, followed by heroin (51%), cannabis (44%), benzodiazepines (43%), methadone (27%), buprenorphine (21%) and amphetamines (19%). Only 21 detainees tested positive to cocaine across 2009 and 2010 (6%). Of the 19 percent that tested positive to amphetamines, the majority were confirmed to have used methamphetamine (16%), while no detainee used MDMA (0%) and only 10 detainees tested positive to another amphetamine type substance (3%). Of those who tested positive to an opiate-based substance, 51 percent tested positive to heroin, 27 percent tested positive to methadone, 21 percent tested positive to buprenorphine and three percent tested positive to other opiate-based substances.

Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to test positive to buprenorphine (36% cf 16%), opiates (73% cf 56%) and benzodiazepines (56% cf 38%). On the other hand, male detainees were more likely than female detainees to test positive to cannabis (53% cf 42%) and amphetamines (20% cf 15%). As noted earlier, positive urinalysis results in 2010 were lower than in the previous year, with fewer detainees testing positive to at least one drug (72% cf 83% in 2009). This decrease was predominantly driven by a decrease in the use opiates since 2009 (53%, down from 67% in 2009). The main exception to this was a substantial increase in the detection of methamphetamine, which rose by 15 percentage points in 2010 (up to 26%). Test positive results for other categories of drug have mainly decreased since 2009, with a decline of three percentage points in positive cannabis tests (down to 43% in 2010), a 10 percentage point decrease in the detection of heroin (down to 46%) and a three percentage point decrease in the detection of benzodiazepine (down to 41%). Though buprenorphine use was low across the DUMA sample, it is interesting to note that buprenorphine tests indicated a high level of use in Footscray, at 22 percent, which was a two percentage point increase from 2009.

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, throughout 2009 and 2010, 25 percent of detainees reported drinking in the previous 48 hours (see Table 65). Male detainees were more likely than female detainees to have been drinking (26% cf 19%) and overall rates of recent alcohol consumption were consistent when compared with earlier years.

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, 53 percent of detainees in 2009–10 had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before their arrest. On the last occasion of drinking, 34 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, eight percent had consumed wine only and 43 percent had consumed spirits only. It was not uncommon for detainees to have mixed different types of alcohol: the remaining 15 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 on the last occasion was nine. Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of seven standard drinks, wine-only drinkers drank an average of 11 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed an average of six standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 19 standard drinks. Though these figures are high, it is important to note that the length of time spent drinking on the last occasion would have varied from person to person.

By gender, female detainees were more likely than males to have most recently consumed wine and spirits, 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 (59% cf 38% for males), whereas more than one-third of males had consumed beer only (37% cf 21% for females). The quantity of alcohol consumed on the last occasion was, on average, higher among males than females across all alcohol types except for those detainees mixing alcohol types (see Table 65).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2009–10, 112 detainees at Footscray reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 40 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 84 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, fewer than one in 10 had been referred by the courts or police or as a result of a legal order. The remainder were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 66). Treatment access declined seven percentage points throughout 2009–10 (42% cf 35%), but, overall, treatment access in 2009–10 remained consistent 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 previous 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, five detainees (5%) reported at least one overnight stay in a psychiatric unit and 149 detainees (41%) reported having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (see Table 67).

Though the numbers are small, male detainees were the only detainees to report an overnight stay in a psychiatric unit (6% cf 0%) and female detainees were more likely to report having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (51% cf 38%). 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 reported that drugs or alcohol were a factor that contributed to their most recent offending.

Of the 302 respondents who provided a urine sample in 2009–10 and were charged with an offence, 79 percent tested positive to a drug. The prevalence of recent drug use varied by most serious offence type, with drug offenders (100%) being most likely to test positive to at least one drug type and disorder offenders being the least likely to test positive (33%). It should be noted that violent, property and drug offences make up the charges against 88 percent of the detainees who provided a urine sample and were charged with an offence at Footscray. Test positive rates for other offenders were:

  • 56 percent for violent offenders;
  • 81 percent for property offenders;
  • 40 percent for drink driving offenders; and
  • 80 percent for breach offenders.

Test positive rates varied by offence type across 2009 and 2010, as the test positive rates for violent and property offenders were substantially lower than when compared with previous years. For example, the rate of positive tests for any drug for violent offenders decreased by 10 percentage points in 2010 (62% cf 52%) and the test positive rate for property offenders decreased by 12 percentage points (87% cf 75% in 2010). The test positive rate for drug offenders was consistent throughout 2009–10, at 100 percent. However, these fluctuations are consistent with data from previous years, suggesting no notable changes in the test positive rate to any drug for detainees in these three main offending groups at Footscray in the longer term.

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 most cases in 2009–10, opiates were most commonly used by detainees, followed by either cannabis or benzodiazepines and then amphetamines. Violent, disorder, and breach offenders all had higher rates of cannabis use than benzodiazepine use. The opposite was true for property, drink driving, and drug offenders. Road and traffic offenders had equal levels of use of both drugs (see Table 68).

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. More than half of all respondents (52%) confirmed that their substance use contributed to their current offences. By most serious offence, those detained on a drug offence had the highest level of combined drug/alcohol attribution (85%), followed by drink driving offenders (83%), property offenders (45%), disorder offenders (44%), violent offenders (32%), and road and traffic offenders (13%). No breach offenders identified alcohol or drugs as having contributed to their detention. Alcohol was more likely than other substances to be identified as a contributing factor by drink driving, road and traffic and disorder offenders, whereas other substances, such as heroin and amphetamines, were more likely than alcohol to be implicated by violent, property and drug offenders (see Table 68).

Table 60: Footscray DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Age
18–20 41 11 16 14 57 11
21–25 73 19 23 19 96 19
26–30 74 19 31 26 105 21
31–35 89 23 15 13 104 21
36+ 112 29 33 28 145 29
Total 389 118 507 100
Min/max age 18/80 18/69 18/80
Mean age (median) 32(31) 30(28) 31(30)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 61: Footscray 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 73 13 60 17 23 13 15 14 96 13 75 16
Property 203 38 147 42 89 49 60 55 292 40 207 45
Drug 132 24 92 27 38 21 26 24 170 24 118 26
Drink driving 9 2 8 2 2 1 1 1 11 2 9 2
Traffic 31 6 9 3 2 1 0 0 33 5 9 2
Disorder 18 3 9 3 1 1 0 0 19 3 9 2
Breach 37 7 4 1 9 5 2 2 46 6 6 1
Other 38 7 17 5 17 9 6 5 55 8 23 5
Total 541 346 181 110 722 456

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 62: Footscray DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 162 51 52 55 214 52
No 154 49 43 45 197 48
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 59 16 15 14 74 16
No 303 84 96 86 399 84

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 63: Footscray DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Education
Year 10 or less 173 44 60 51 233 46
Year 11 or 12 85 22 25 21 110 22
TAFE/university not completed 52 13 12 10 64 13
Completed TAFE 58 15 14 12 72 14
Completed university 21 5 7 6 28 6
Total 389 118 507
Housing
Private house/apartment 139 36 59 50 198 39
Someone else’s place 202 52 47 40 249 49
Shelter or emergency 1 0 1 1 2 0
Incarceration facility/halfway house 2 1 0 0 2 0
Treatment facility 0 0 0 0 0 0
No fixed residence 14 4 7 6 21 4
Other 31 8 4 3 35 7
Total 389 118 507
Employment
Full-time 82 21 11 9 93 18
Part-time 48 12 7 6 55 11
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 44 11 10 8 54 11
Looking for work 128 33 29 25 157 31
Not looking for work 72 19 30 25 102 20
Full-time homemakers 3 1 27 23 30 6
Retired or studying 12 3 4 3 16 3
Total 389 118 507

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 64: Footscray DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Provided urine
Yes 252 65 81 69 333 66
No 137 35 37 31 174 34
Test results
Cannabis 105 42 43 53 148 44
Cocaine 17 7 4 5 21 6
Methamphetamine 43 17 10 12 53 16
MDMA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other amphetamines 8 3 2 2 10 3
(Any amphetamines)a (51) (20) (12) (15) (63) (19)
Heroin 120 48 48 59 168 51
Methadone 49 19 40 49 89 27
Buprenorphine 41 16 29 36 70 21
Other opiates 5 2 4 5 9 3
(Any opiate)b (140) (56) (59) (73) (199) (60)
Benzodiazepines 97 38 45 56 142 43
Any drug 190 75 67 83 257 77
Any drug other than cannabis 165 65 64 79 229 69
Multiple drugs 133 53 60 74 193 58

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 65: Footscray DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 102 26 22 19 124 25
Past 30 daysa, b 152 55 42 46 194 53
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasionb
Beer only 58 37 9 21 67 34
Wine only 10 6 6 14 16 8
Spirits only 59 38 25 60 84 43
Mixed drinksc 28 18 2 5 30 15
MaleFemaleTotal
nmean (median)nmean (median)nmean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)b
Beer only 58 7(5) 9 4(3) 67 7(5)
Wine only 10 15(4) 6 3(3) 16 11(4)
Spirits only 59 7(5) 24 6(4) 83 6(5)
Mixed drinksc 28 18(12) 2 34(34) 30 19(12)

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 66: Footscray DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2009–10a, b
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Treatment
Never been in treatment 71 34 18 24 89 31
Been in, but not currently in treatment 60 28 24 32 84 29
Currently in treatment 80 38 32 43 112 39
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 1 1 1 3 2 2
Court diversion scheme 0 0 0 0 0 0
Police diversion scheme 2 3 0 0 2 2
Other legal order 3 4 3 9 6 5
Otherc 74 93 28 88 102 91

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 67: Footscray 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 5 6 0 0 5 5
No 80 94 21 100 101 95
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issueb
Yes 103 38 46 51 149 41
No 167 62 44 49 211 59

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 68: Footscray DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2009–10a
ViolentPropertyDrugDrink drivingTrafficDisorderBreachOtherTotal
(n=52)%(n=130)%(n=83)%(n=5)%(n=4)%(n=6)%(n=5)%(n=17)%(n=302)%
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 22 42 66 51 34 41 0 0 2 50 2 33 4 80 7 41 137 45
Cocaine 1 2 2 2 15 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18 6
Amphetaminesb 10 19 20 15 24 29 0 0 0 0 1 17 1 20 2 12 58 19
Opiatesc 18 35 78 60 71 86 1 20 3 75 1 17 3 60 10 59 185 61
Benzodiazepines 15 29 67 52 42 51 1 20 2 50 0 0 0 0 6 35 133 44
(Any drug) 29 56 105 81 83 100 2 40 3 75 2 33 4 80 10 59 238 79
(Any drug other than cannabis) 22 42 92 71 79 95 2 40 3 75 1 17 4 80 10 59 213 71
(Multiple drugs) 20 38 80 62 63 76 0 0 3 75 1 17 4 80 9 53 180 60
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond, e
Alcohol 5 9 13 8 5 6 5 83 1 13 3 33 2 0 1 8 35 11
Other drugs 14 25 61 40 67 84 0 0 0 0 1 11 1 0 3 25 147 45
Any attribution 18 32 69 45 68 85 5 83 1 13 4 44 3 0 4 33 172 52

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 16: Test positive trends, males by drug type, Footscray 2006–10 (%)a

 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Footscray 2006–10 (%)

a: data was not collected at this site during quarter 1 and 2, 2007

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 17: Test positive trends, females by drug type, Footscray 2006–10 (%)a

 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Footscray 2006–10 (%)

a: Data was not collected at this site during quarter 1 and 2, 2007

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]