Australian Institute of Criminology

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Southport

Sample

Throughout 2009–10, 1,093 detainees were interviewed at the Southport watch-house. The majority (87%) were males and the average age was 31 years (see Table 87). Male detainees were, on average, one year older than female detainees (31 years cf 30 years).

Compared with 2009, the number of detainees surveyed in 2010 declined by 13 percent, although this decline was not equal for men and women. In 2010, there was a 26 percent decrease in the number of women surveyed and an 11 percent decrease in the number of men surveyed compared with figures for 2009. This decline can be attributed to a decrease in the number of detainees processed during the DUMA interview hours in 2010. Overall, the number of detainees processed during DUMA interview hours in 2010 was down when compared with earlier years.

The average age of detainees increased modestly from 30 years in 2009 to 31 years in 2010, driven largely by an older male detainee population. In 2010, for example, the average age of male detainees in Southport was one year older than in the previous year (31 years cf 30 years in 2009). On the other hand, the average age of female detainees decreased by two years in 2010 (29 years cf 31 years in 2009).

Offending

In 2009–10, Southport detainees were arrested and detained for a total of 2,529 charges. Consistent with previous years, the average number of charges per detainee was two and the maximum number of charges was 10. Charges for a breach of justice order were those most frequently recorded, comprising 20 percent of all charges for the year. This was followed by charges for property offences (18%), road and traffic offences (12%), violent offences (11%), drug offences (7%), disorder offences (6%) and drink driving offences (4%). A further 576 charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 88).

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 Southport, for 2009–10, 27 percent of detainees were classified as a most serious breach offender, having at least one breach offence recorded on their charge sheet. Of the remaining 73 percent, 19 percent were property offenders, 18 percent were violent offenders, 11 percent were road and traffic offenders, eight percent were drink driving offenders, six percent were drug offenders and four percent were disorder offenders. A further six percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 88). Between 2009 and 2010 there were no notable differences in the classification of offenders. Overall, there was also no notable difference in the classification of offenders when compared with earlier years.

By gender, one in four male detainees in 2009–10 was in custody for a breach offence (27%), with breaches of a justice order being the single most frequently recorded offence type, followed by property (18%), violent (18%) and road and traffic offences (12%). Female detainees were less likely than male detainees to be detained for a violent offence (14%) and a breach of justice order (24%) but were more likely to be detained for a property offence (27%).

Prior criminal justice contact

For more than half of the Southport detainees throughout 2009–10, the current episode of contact with the police was not an isolated incident: 51 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the previous 12 months (see Table 89). Compared with 2009, the proportion of detainees with a recent history of police contact in 2010 was almost identical (52% cf 51% in 2009) and, overall, these figures were consistent with earlier years. By gender, male detainees were more likely than female detainees to have been previously charged (52% cf 45%).

In 2009–10, fewer than one in five detainees in Southport (14%) had spent time in prison in the previous 12 months, with males being more likely than females to report a recent prison history (14% cf 8%). In 2009, 15 percent of detainees reported a recent prison history—this was slightly higher than the 11 percent recorded in 2010, although it was not notably different when compared with earlier years.

Education, housing and employment

For two in every five detainees (41%) in the Southport sample, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained (see Table 90). More than 40 percent of the sample had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification—results that were generally consistent from year to year and between male and female detainees.

The most notable change among male detainees between 2009 and 2010 was a four percentage point decrease in the proportion reaching Year 10 only. For female detainees, the most notable change compared with 2009 was also a four percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees having completed to Year 10 only. These results for male and female detainees represent a slight improvement in scholastic achievement.

In 2009–10, nearly all detainees (88%) reported most recently residing in a private residence (in the 30 days before their arrest). This figure mostly represented those who lived in a privately owned or rented residence (58%) rather than those who lived in a residence owned or rented by someone else (30%). A small number of detainees (5%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 90). Overall, the housing situation for 2009–10 was not notably different when compared with earlier years.

In 2009–10, one in three detainees (37%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while 156 detainees (14%) were employed part-time. The remaining 534 detainees (49%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 268 (25%) were looking for work;
  • 139 (13%) were not looking for work;
  • 78 (7%) were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment;
  • 21 (2%) were full-time homemakers; and
  • 28 (3%) were retired or studying (see Table 90).

These results were consistent between 2009 and 2010. Overall, the proportion of detainees working full-time was notably higher than when data were first collected at Southport. Despite fluctuations, there was no notable longer term change in the other employment categories.

Male detainees were more likely to be employed full-time or part-time (54%) when compared with female detainees (32%), who were more likely to be unemployed and not looking for work (18% cf 12% for males) or not working because of their role as a full-time homemaker (14% cf <1%). There were only modest changes in the employment status of detainees between 2009 and 2010. For females, the proportion engaged in full-time or part-time employment in 2010 decreased by six percentage points (down to 29%). There were no notable changes in the employment status of males from 2009 to 2010.

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 1,052 detainees who provided a urine sample throughout 2009 and 2010, 65 percent tested positive to at least one drug type. This was the lowest level of drug use recorded at Southport since data collection first began. The drug most commonly detected over the two-year period was cannabis (48%), followed by benzodiazepines (23%), opiates (17%) and amphetamines (15%). Only 14 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 (13%), while only 15 detainees had used MDMA (1%) and 13 tested positive to another amphetamine type substance (1%). Of those testing positive to an opiate-based substance, nine percent tested positive to heroin, two percent tested positive to methadone, seven percent tested positive to buprenorphine and four percent tested positive to other opiate-based substances (see Table 91).

Female detainees in 2009–10 were more likely than male detainees to test positive to amphetamines (18% cf 14%), opiates (24% cf 17%) and benzodiazepines (37% cf 21%). Male and female detainees were almost equally likely to test positive to cannabis (48% cf 49%). Positive urinalysis results in 2010 are almost identical to the results of the previous year (65% cf 66% in 2009). As a result, there was very little variation in test positive results across most categories of drugs, with the largest declines being a two percentage point decrease for amphetamines (down to 14% in 2010) and benzodiazepines (down to 22%). There was also a one percentage point decrease in 2010 for both heroin (down to 8%) and buprenorphine (down to 7%). Cannabis was the only drug that showed an increase in level of use, up by three percentage points in 2010 (up to 50%).

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, 45 percent of detainees had been drinking in the previous 48 hours (see Table 92). This figure remained relatively consistent between 2009 and 2010 and when compared with earlier years it was not notably different. Male detainees were substantially more likely to have been drinking than female detainees (47% cf 35%).

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, 83 percent of detainees throughout 2009 and 2010 had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before their arrest. On the last occasion of drinking, 40 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, nine percent had consumed wine only and 34 percent had consumed spirits only. It was not uncommon for detainees to have mixed different types of alcohol: the remaining 18 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 13. Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of nine standard drinks, wine-only drinkers drank an average of 14 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 23 standard drinks. Although 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 in 2009–10 were more likely than male detainees to have most recently consumed spirits or wine, while male detainees were more likely than female detainees to drink beer. Nearly half of all female detainees who had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days had consumed spirits only on the last occasion (43% cf 33% for males), whereas two in every five males had consumed beer only (42% cf 16% for females). The quantity of alcohol consumed on the last occasion was, on average, higher among males than females across all types of alcohol except beer (see Table 92).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2009–10, 83 detainees at Southport reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 12 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 236 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, about half (49%) had been referred by the courts or police or as a result of a legal order. The remainder (51%) were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 93). Overall, treatment access throughout 2009 and 2010 remained stable when compared with earlier years, at 11 percent.

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 previous 12 months). Overall, 11 detainees (4%) reported at least one overnight stay in a psychiatric unit and 307 detainees (39%) reported having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (see Table 94).

Although the numbers are small, female detainees were slightly more likely to report an overnight stay in a psychiatric unit (6% cf 4%) and were also more likely to report having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (56% cf 36%). 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 1,050 respondents who provided a urine sample in 2009–10 and were charged with an offence, 66 percent tested positive to at least one type of drug. The prevalence of recent drug use varied by most serious offence type, with drug offenders (90%) most likely to test positive to at least one drug type and drink driving offenders the least likely to test positive (52%). Test positive rates for other offenders were:

  • 63 percent for violent offenders;
  • 66 percent for property offenders;
  • 67 percent for breach offenders; and
  • 56 percent for disorder offenders (see Table 95).

Test positive rates varied by offence type across 2009 and 2010. For example, there was a nine percentage point increase in the proportion of property offenders that tested positive to any drug (62% cf 71% in 2010). Other changes in 2010 included a six percentage point decrease in the proportion of violent offenders testing positive to any drug (66% cf 60% in 2010) and a 10 percentage point decrease in the proportion of disorder offenders testing positive to any drug (60% cf 50%). Overall, the proportion of property offenders testing positive to any drug was notably lower when compared with earlier years, while the proportions of violent and drug offenders using drugs remained relatively stable when compared with previous 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, the drug most commonly used among detainees throughout 2009–10 was cannabis, followed by either amphetamines or benzodiazepines, or opiates. Violent, property, drink driving, breach and disorder offenders all had higher rates of benzodiazepines use than amphetamines use. The opposite was true for drug offenders and road and traffic offenders, while property offenders had the same rate of opiate use and benzodiazepine use.

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 (47%) 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 (66%), followed by drug offenders (62%), disorder offenders (57%), violent offenders (53%), property offenders (47%), breach offenders (45%) and road and traffic offenders (21%). Alcohol was more likely than other substances to be identified as a contributing factor by violent, property, drink driving, road and traffic and breach offenders, whereas other substances such as heroin and amphetamines were more likely than alcohol to be implicated by drug offenders (see Table 95).

Table 87: Southport DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Age
18–20 141 15 27 19 168 15
21–25 219 23 32 23 251 23
26–30 195 20 26 19 221 20
31–35 125 13 14 10 139 13
36+ 274 29 40 29 314 29
Total 954 139 1,093
Min/max age 18/77 18/68 18/77
Mean age (median) 31(29) 30(27) 31(28)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 88: Southport DUMA sample, by offending and gender, 2009–10a
MaleMaleTotal
ChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offence
n%n%n%n%n%n%
Charges recorded
Violent 241 11 172 18 26 8 19 14 267 11 191 18
Property 386 17 174 18 72 23 38 27 458 18 212 19
Drug 151 7 58 6 33 11 12 9 184 7 70 6
Drink driving 90 4 72 8 17 6 16 12 107 4 88 8
Traffic 272 12 111 12 23 7 9 6 295 12 120 11
Disorder 132 6 43 5 13 4 4 3 145 6 47 4
Breach 451 20 260 27 45 15 33 24 496 20 293 27
Other 496 22 61 6 80 26 8 6 576 23 69 6
Total 2,219 951 309 139 2,528 1,090

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 89: Southport DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 474 52 59 45 533 51
No 433 48 72 55 505 49
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 134 14 11 8 145 14
No 805 86 122 92 927 86

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 90: Southport DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Education
Year 10 or less 390 41 53 38 443 41
Year 11 or 12 176 18 17 12 193 18
TAFE/university not completed 107 11 28 20 135 12
Completed TAFE 241 25 27 19 268 25
Completed university 40 4 14 10 54 5
Total 954 139 1,093
Housing
Private house/apartment 542 57 91 65 633 58
Someone else’s place 299 31 30 22 329 30
Shelter or emergency 1 0 0 0 1 0
Incarceration facility/halfway house 7 1 1 1 8 1
Treatment facility 14 1 4 3 18 2
No fixed residence 45 5 6 4 51 5
Other 46 5 7 5 53 5
Total 954 139 1,093
Employment
Full-time 382 40 21 15 403 37
Part-time 132 14 24 17 156 14
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 65 7 13 9 78 7
Looking for work 237 25 31 22 268 25
Not looking for work 114 12 25 18 139 13
Full-time homemakers 1 0 20 14 21 2
Retired or studying 23 2 5 4 28 3
Total 954 139 1,093

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 91: Southport DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Provided urine
Yes 923 97 128 92 1,051 96
No 31 3 11 8 42 4
Test results
Cannabis 447 48 63 49 510 49
Cocaine 13 1 1 1 14 1
Methamphetamine 117 13 18 14 135 13
MDMA 14 2 1 1 15 1
Other amphetamines 8 1 5 4 13 1
(Any amphetamines)a (133) (14) (23) (18) (156) (15)
Heroin 79 9 12 9 91 9
Methadone 15 2 8 6 23 2
Buprenorphine 56 6 15 12 71 7
Other opiates 38 4 9 7 47 4
(Any opiate)b (153) (17) (31) (24) (184) (18)
Benzodiazepines 196 21 47 37 243 23
Any drug 599 65 90 70 689 66
Any drug other than cannabis 354 38 66 52 420 40
Multiple drugs 244 26 48 38 292 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 92: Southport DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 447 47 48 35 495 45
Past 30 daysa, b 584 84 74 73 658 83
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasionb
Beer only 246 42 12 16 258 40
Wine only 38 7 19 26 57 9
Spirits only 189 33 32 43 221 34
Mixed drinksc 106 18 11 15 117 18
MaleFemaleTotal
nmean (median)nmean (median)nmean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)b
Beer only 243 9(7) 12 9(6) 255 9(6)
Wine only 38 15(7) 19 12(7) 57 14(7)
Spirits only 189 11(9) 32 10(7) 221 11(8)
Mixed drinksc 106 23(20) 11 1715) 117 23(20)

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

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 93: Southport DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2009–10a, b
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Treatment
Never been in treatment 331 54 49 57 380 54
Been in, but not currently in treatment 220 36 16 19 236 34
Currently in treatment 62 10 21 24 83 12
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 28 46 3 14 31 38
Court diversion scheme 1 2 0 0 1 1
Police diversion scheme 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other legal order 8 13 0 0 8 10
Otherc 24 39 18 86 42 51

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’

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 94: Southport 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 9 4 2 6 11 4
No 229 96 30 94 259 96
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issueb
Yes 250 36 57 56 307 39
No 442 64 44 44 486 61

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 95: Southport DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2009–10a
ViolentPropertyDrugDrink drivingTrafficDisorderBreachOtherTotal
(n=186)%(n=208)%(n=69)%(n=85)%(n=115)%(n=45)%(n=276)%(n=66)%(n=1,050)%
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 95 51 97 47 51 74 33 39 57 50 19 42 124 45 34 52 510 49
Cocaine 4 2 1 0 4 6 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 0 1 2 14 1
Amphetaminesb 23 12 33 16 22 32 5 6 15 13 2 4 43 16 13 20 156 15
Opiatesc 19 10 60 29 12 17 7 8 12 10 8 18 51 18 14 21 183 17
Benzodiazepines 45 24 60 29 17 25 16 19 13 11 11 24 62 22 18 27 242 23
(Any drug) 118 63 138 66 62 90 44 52 72 63 25 56 185 67 44 67 688 66
(Any drug other than cannabis) 65 35 99 48 41 59 22 26 31 27 16 36 116 42 29 44 419 40
(Multiple drugs) 50 27 74 36 33 48 14 16 18 16 11 24 68 25 23 35 291 28
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond, e
Alcohol 61 45 49 30 10 20 43 66 15 17 12 40 74 30 5 20 269 34
Other drugs 18 13 41 25 24 48 4 6 5 6 5 17 53 22 6 24 156 20
Any attribution 72 53 75 47 31 62 43 66 18 21 17 57 109 45 11 44 376 47

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 22: Test positive trends, males by drug type, Southport 1999–2010 (%)

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 23: Test positive trends, females by drug type, Southport 1999–2010 (%)

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]