Most serious offence by Indigenous status

Of the 5,145 Indigenous persons in prison in 2008, nearly 30 percent had been sentenced with assault as their most serious offence (MSO; ABS 2009). Other MSO categories were burglary (14%), offences against justice procedures/government, security and operations (12%) and sexual assault (11%). These four offences accounted for 66 percent of Indigenous sentenced prisoners’ MSOs. Of all Indigenous sentenced prisoners, seven percent had been sentenced with homicide as their MSO. Conversely, non-Indigenous sentenced prisoners were more likely to have sexual assault recorded as their MSO (14%), followed by illicit drug offences (12%), homicide (12%), assault (12%) and burglary (10%). These five offences accounted for 61 percent of non-Indigenous sentenced prisoners’ MSOs.

Proportion of sentenced prisoners by most serious offence 2008 [see attached PDF for pie charts]