Australian Institute of Criminology

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Parramatta

Sample

In 2011–12, 263 detainees were interviewed at the Parramatta police watchhouse. Since the beginning of 2009, data collection activities at the Parramatta site have been rotated on a quarterly basis with the Kings Cross site. The average age of detainees was 32 years and 82 percent of detainees were males. Male detainees were, on average, two years older than female detainees (33 cf 31 years; see Table 78).

Compared with 2011, the number of detainees surveyed in 2012 was down by seven percent, driven by a decline in the number of males surveyed. From 2011 to 2012, there was an eight percent decrease in the number of men surveyed, while the number of female detainees remained consistent, with 24 surveyed in both 2011 and 2012.

Between 2011 and 2012, the average age of detainees decreased by one year to 32 years of age. In 2012, the average age of female detainees in Parramatta decreased by three years compared with 2011 (29 cf 32 years). From 2011 to 2012, the average age of male detainees decreased by one year (33 cf 32 years).

Offending

In 2011–12, Parramatta detainees were arrested and detained on a total of 564 charges. Consistent with previous years, the average number of charges per detainee was two. In 2011–12, charges for violent offences were those most commonly recorded, comprising 21 percent of total charges. This was followed by property offences (16%), breach offences (14%), drug and disorder offences (both 9%), traffic offences (8%) and drink driving offences (1%). A further 21 percent of charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 79). Since the 2009–10 collection, violent charges have decreased by three percentage points (from 24%) and property charges have decreased by 11 percentage points (from 27%).

To facilitate comparison between detainees, each detainee is categorised by the most serious offence for which they are being held under charge at the time of interview. In 2011–12, 32 percent of Parramatta detainees were categorised as violent offenders (an increase of only one percentage point from 2009–10), 21 percent as breach offenders, 17 percent as property offenders, six percent as traffic offenders, five percent as disorder offenders, five percent as drug offenders and one percent as drink driving offenders. A further 13 percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 79).

In 2011–12, the percentage of breach offenders in Parramatta increased by 11 percentage points (10% cf 21%), and the percentage of property offenders decreased by eight percentage points (25% cf 17%) since the 2009–10 collection. From 2011 to 2012, there was a five percentage point decrease in detainees charged with traffic offences (8% cf 3%), while disorder offences increased by four percentage points (3% cf 7%) and breach offences increased by six percentage points (18% to 24%). There were no notable differences in the frequency of offence types recorded for male and female detainees.

Prior criminal justice contact

In 2011–12, for half of the Parramatta detainees, 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 12 months prior to interview (see Table 80). From 2011 to 2012, detainees reporting a recent history of arrest increased by seven percentage points (48% cf 55%). However, in 2011–12, there was no notable change in the percentage of recidivist detainees when compared with earlier years. In 2011–12, female and male detainees were almost equally as likely to have been charged in the 12 months prior to interview (52% cf 51%).

In 2011–12, one in five Parramatta detainees (19%) had spent time in prison in the previous 12 months. This figure was three percentage points higher than in 2009–10 (16%). In 2011–12, males were more likely than females to report a recent prison history (20% cf 15%).

Education, housing and employment

In 2011–12, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained for two out of five Parramatta detainees (38%); an eight percentage point decrease since 2009–10 (46%). Nearly half of the detainees (48%) had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification, compared with 35 percent in 2009–10. These results indicate an increase in scholastic achievement when compared with education levels in 2009–10. Female detainees were more likely to have completed Year 10 or less than male detainees (46% cf 36%) and were more likely to have completed a university qualification (15% cf 6%; see Table 81).

In 2011–12, the majority of detainees (87%) reported residing in stable accommodation, which was owned or rented, either from a private owner or social housing, by them (52%) or someone else (35%). A small number of detainees (6%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 81). In 2011–12, the housing and accommodation status of detainees was comparable with previous years.

In 2011–12, one in four detainees (23%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while 41 detainees (16%) reported being in part-time employment (see Table 81). The remaining 161 detainees (61%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 24 percent were looking for work (n=63);
  • 18 percent were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (n=47); and
  • 15 percent were not looking for work (n=40).

Examining employment by gender, there were a number of differences. In 2011–12, male detainees were more likely to be employed full-time (26%) than female detainees (8%), while female detainees were more likely than male detainees to be disabled and unable to work (25% cf 12%), not looking for work (25% cf 13%) or not working because of their role as a full-time homemaker (4% cf 1%). Gender comparisons should be made with caution, due to the overrepresentation of males within the sample.

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 testing 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). In the 2011–12 collection period, the rate of urine collection was reduced compared with earlier collection periods; urine samples were collected for all four data collection quarters in 2011 and one out of the four data collection quarters in 2012.

Of the 141 detainees who provided a urine sample, 70 percent tested positive to at least one drug type, a notably higher level of drug use when compared with earlier years in Parramatta (60% in 2009–10). In 2011–12, the drug most commonly detected was cannabis (42%), followed by amphetamines (32%; including 29% methamphetamine and 1% MDMA—detainees can test positive to more than one substance), opiates (28%; including 19% methadone, 11% heroin and 7% buprenorphine—detainees can test positive to more than one substance) and benzodiazepines (26%). In 2011–12, only three detainees tested positive to cocaine (2%; see Table 82). Compared with the 2009–10 collection, in 2011–12 the percentage of detainees who tested positive to amphetamines in Parramatta doubled (16% cf 32%). There was also a slight decrease in heroin use (13% cf 11%) and a slight increase in methadone use (16% cf 19%).

From 2011 to 2012, there was a 13 percentage point increase in positive cannabis tests (38% cf 51%), a four percentage point increase in positive benzodiazepine tests (24% cf 28%), a two percentage point decline in heroin use (11% cf 9%) and a seven percentage point decrease in buprenorphine use (9% cf 2%). There was no substantial change in the level of amphetamines use between 2011 and 2012 (32% cf 33%).

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 prior to their arrest. In 2011–12, 29 percent of detainees reported drinking in the 48 hours prior to arrest (see Table 83), which is consistent with previous years. Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to have been drinking alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest (33% cf 28%). From 2011 to 2012, rates of recent alcohol consumption were relatively stable.

Alcohol consumption patterns

In 2011–12, 53 percent of detainees had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days prior to their arrest (down from 60% in 2009–10; see Table 83). On the last occasion of drinking, 36 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, 11 percent had consumed wine only and 33 percent had consumed spirits only, with the remaining 21 percent reporting having consumed at least two types of alcohol (referred to in the discussion below as mixed drinks) on the last occasion.

By quantity, the average number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion was 17, an increase in the reported average number of drinks since 2009–10 (9 standard drinks). Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of six standard drinks, wine-only drinkers consumed an average of 15 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed an average of nine standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 30 standard drinks on average (up from 22 standard drinks in 2009–10). 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 and in some cases would have involved drinking sessions that lasted more than one day.

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2011–12, 36 Parramatta detainees reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 23 percent of those who had used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months and is two percentage points lower than in 2009–10 (25%). Treatment options included support groups, counselling and pharmacotherapy. A further 48 detainees (30%) had been previously in a treatment program but were no longer in treatment at the time of their arrest. Of those currently in treatment, 45 percent (n=16) had been referred by the courts or as a result of a legal order. The remaining 56 percent (n=20) were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 84). From 2011 to 2012, treatment access generally remained stable and was consistent with earlier years. In 2012, there was a notable increase in the number of detainees currently in treatment who were self-referred compared with 2011 (64% cf 36%).

Detainees were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or any other mental health-related issue (ie not just in the previous 12 months). Eighty-eight detainees (40%) reported having been diagnosed with a mental health-related issue (see Table 85). Although the numbers are small, female detainees were more likely than males to report a mental health diagnosis (55% cf 37%).

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 contributing factor in their most recent offending.

Of the 134 respondents who provided a urine sample, 71 percent tested positive to at least one type of drug (see Table 86). However, by most serious offence type, the percentage of detainees testing positive to at least one drug type varied. Test positive rates by most serious offence classification are:

  • 88 percent for property offenders (n=21);
  • 68 percent for breach offenders (n=21); and
  • 55 percent for violent offenders (n=22).

Caution should be exercised when making comparisons between offending categories and across collection periods, due to the presence of small cell sizes. In addition, in 2012, substantial changes were made to the DUMA methodology in regards to urine collection, limiting comparability of findings with previous collection periods.

DUMA detainees are asked specific questions to identify the relationship between substance use and the commission of the offence(s) for which they are held in custody at the time of interview. Over one-third of all detainees (35%) reported that their substance use contributed to their current offending. By most serious offence, drug/alcohol attribution rates were:

  • 39 percent for breach offenders (n=20);
  • 37 percent for property offenders (n=15); and
  • 31 percent for violent offenders (n=24).

Alcohol was more likely than drug use to be identified as a contributing factor by disorder and drink driving offenders, whereas drug use was more likely than alcohol to be implicated by violent, property, drug, traffic and breach offenders (see Table 86).

Table 78 Parramatta DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Age (yrs)
18–20 25 12 10 21 35 13
21–25 32 15 7 15 39 15
26–30 49 23 8 17 57 22
31–35 31 14 4 8 35 13
36+ 78 36 19 40 97 37
Total 215 48 263
Min/max age 18/59 18/55 18/59
Mean age (median) 33(31) 31(30) 32(31)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 79 Parramatta DUMA sample, by offence and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
Charges Detainees most serious offence Charges Detainees most serious offence Charges Detainees most serious offence
Charges recorded n % n % n % n % n % n %
Violent 98 22 63 32 22 18 14 30 120 21 77 32
Property 62 14 33 17 30 24 8 17 92 16 41 17
Drug 43 10 11 6 8 6 2 4 51 9 13 5
Drink driving 2 0 2 1 2 2 1 2 4 1 3 1
Traffic 44 10 13 7 2 2 1 2 46 8 14 6
Disorder 42 10 11 6 9 7 1 2 51 9 12 5
Breach 68 15 40 20 13 10 11 24 81 14 51 21
Other 81 18 24 12 38 31 8 17 119 21 32 13
Total 440 197 124 46 564 243

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 2012 [computer file]

Table 80 Parramatta DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 91 51 22 52 113 52
No 86 49 20 48 106 48
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 36 20 6 15 42 19
No 140 80 35 85 175 81

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 81 Parramatta DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Education
Year 10 or less 78 36 22 46 100 38
Year 11 or 12 36 17 3 6 39 15
TAFE/university not completed 41 19 8 17 49 19
Completed TAFE 46 21 8 17 54 21
Completed university 13 6 7 15 20 8
Total 214 48 262
Housing
Owned or rented by self 110 51 25 52 135 52
Someone else’s place 76 36 17 35 93 35
Shelter or emergency 1 0 2 4 3 1
Incarceration facility/halfway house 6 3 0 0 6 2
Treatment facility 9 4 1 2 10 4
No fixed residence 11 5 2 4 13 5
Other 1 0 1 2 2 1
Total 214 48 262
Employment
Full-time 56 26 4 8 60 23
Part-time 33 15 8 17 41 16
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 33 15 14 29 47 18
Looking for work 57 27 6 13 63 24
Not looking for work 28 13 12 25 40 15
Full-time homemakers 2 1 2 4 4 2
Retired or studying 5 2 2 4 7 3
Total 214 48 262

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 2012 [computer file]

Table 82 Parramatta DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Provided urinea
Yes 115 72 26 87 141 75
No 44 28 4 13 48 25
Test results
Cannabis 50 43 9 35 59 42
Cocaine 3 3 0 0 3 2
Amphetaminesb 37 32 8 31 45 32
Methamphetamine 34 30 7 27 41 29
MDMA 1 1 0 0 1 1
Other amphetamines 2 2 1 4 3 2
Opiatesc 32 28 8 31 40 28
Heroin 12 10 3 12 15 11
Methadone 20 17 7 27 27 19
Buprenorphine 6 5 4 15 10 7
Other opiates 4 3 0 0 4 3
Benzodiazepines 28 24 8 31 36 26
Any drug 79 69 19 73 98 70
Any drug other than cannabis 63 55 17 65 80 57
Multiple drugs 46 40 9 35 55 39

a: Percentages have been calculated for the quarters in which urine samples were requested, which in 2011 was all 4 quarters and in 2012 was 2 out of 4 quarters

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 83 Parramatta DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 60 28 16 33 76 29
Past 30 days 120 56 20 42 140 53
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasion
Beer only 48 40 2 10 50 36
Wine only 11 9 4 20 15 11
Spirits only 36 30 10 50 46 33
Mixed drinksb 25 21 4 20 29 21
Male Female Total
n mean (median) n mean (median) n mean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)
Beer only 48 6(3) 2 8(8) 50 6(3)
Wine only 11 15(15) 4 15(14) 15 15(15)
Spirits only 36 9(3) 10 9(4) 46 9(3)
Mixed drinksb 25 29(25) 4 34(21) 29 30(23)

a: Only if consumed alcohol in the past 30 days

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 84 Parramatta DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2011–12a,b
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Treatment
Never been in treatment 65 50 11 38 76 48
Been in, but not currently in treatment 38 29 10 34 48 30
Currently in treatment 28 21 8 28 36 23
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 9 32 2 25 11 31
Court diversion scheme 2 7 0 0 2 6
Police diversion scheme 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other legal order 3 11 0 0 3 8
Otherc 14 50 6 75 20 56

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 2012 [computer file]

Table 85 Parramatta DUMA sample, by mental health and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health-related issueb
Yes 65 37 23 55 88 40
No 111 63 19 45 130 60

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

b: Includes developmental, somatoform, dissociative, sexual or gender identity, paraphilia, eating or adjustment disorders

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 86 Parramatta DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2011–12a
Violent Property Drug Drink driving Traffic Disorder Breach Other Total
n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n %
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 13 33 12 50 5 63 0 0 3 30 4 67 12 39 7 58 56 42
Cocaine 0 0 1 4 1 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 3 2
Amphetaminesb 13 33 9 38 4 50 1 33 3 30 1 17 9 29 5 42 45 34
Opiatesc 4 10 10 42 5 63 0 0 3 30 1 17 10 32 5 42 38 28
Benzodiazepines 5 13 7 29 4 50 0 0 1 10 4 67 11 35 4 33 36 27
(Any drug) 22 55 21 88 8 100 1 33 7 70 5 83 21 68 10 83 95 71
(Any drug other than cannabis) 16 40 16 67 7 88 1 33 7 70 4 67 19 61 8 67 78 58
(Multiple drugs) 11 28 10 42 6 75 0 0 3 30 3 50 13 42 7 58 53 40
(Total urine samples) 40 24 8 3 10 6 31 12 134
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond
Alcohol 9 12 3 7 1 8 3 100 0 0 3 25 11 22 6 19 36 15
Other drugs 16 21 12 29 6 46 1 33 1 7 2 17 12 24 6 19 56 23
Any attribution 24 31 15 37 6 46 3 100 1 7 4 33 20 39 12 38 85 35
(Total detainees interviewed) 77 41 13 3 14 12 51 32 243

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: Missing data excluded from analysis

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Figure 20 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Parramatta, 1999–2012 (%)

Figure 20 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Parramatta, 1999–2012 (%)

Note: Data was not collected at this site during quarters 1 and 3 of 2009–11 and quarters 1–3 of 2012

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Figure 21 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Parramatta, 1999–2012 (%)

Figure 21 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Parramatta, 1999–2012 (%)

Note: Data was not collected at this site during quarters 1 and 3 of 2009–11 and quarters 1–3 of 2012

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]