Data from a recent study of the reintegration of Indigenous prisoners show that released Indigenous prisoners are more likely to be readmitted to prison than non-Indigenous prisoners (Willis & Moore 2008). The study analysed data from all Australian jurisdictions on 8,938 prisoners released in a two-year period, all of whom had been convicted and imprisoned for a violent offence. Some 35 percent of prisoners in the sample were Indigenous. Within two years of release, 55 percent of Indigenous prisoners had been returned to prison, compared with 31 percent of non-Indigenous prisoners. As well as returning to prison at a higher rate, Indigenous prisoners tended to return sooner. Within six months of release, one-quarter (24%) of Indigenous prisoners had been readmitted to prison custody, twice the percentage of non-Indigenous prisoners (12%). Within 12 months, two-fifths (39%) of Indigenous prisoners had been readmitted, compared with one-fifth (21%) of non-Indigenous prisoners. The relative likelihood that Indigenous prisoners would return to prison, compared with non-Indigenous prisoners, varied between individual jurisdictions. In each jurisdiction the basic pattern remained the same, with Indigenous prisoners more likely to be readmitted to prison within two years, and to be readmitted sooner.
Released prisoners readmitted to prison within six, 12, 18 and 24 months (percent)
Source: AIC Reintegration of Indigenous prisoners [computer data file]
Willis M & Moore J-P. Reintegration of Indigenous prisoners. Research and public policy series no. 90. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.