Prior imprisonment by Indigenous status

Indigenous prisoners in custody were 32 percent more likely than non-Indigenous prisoners to have served a prior prison sentence (73% vs 49.6%), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS 2008). Of those Indigenous prisoners whose most serious current offence or charge fell under ‘homicide and related offences’, more than 62 percent had previously been charged with a prior offence, compared with 35 percent of non-Indigenous prisoners. Three-quarters (75.3%) of Indigenous offenders serving a prison sentence for ‘acts intended to cause injury’ had been imprisoned on a prior occasion, compared with 52.5 percent of non-Indigenous prisoners serving time for the same offence. About two-thirds (68.8%) of Indigenous prisoners serving a sentence for illicit drug offences as their most serious offence had prior imprisonment recorded, in contrast to about one-third (34.3%) of non-Indigenous prisoners. Indigenous offenders serving a sentence for ‘sexual assault and related offences’ were more than twice as likely (61.7%) as non-Indigenous prisoners (27.8%) to have a prior imprisonment recorded for any offence.

Proportion of offenders with a record of prior imprisonment, by Indigenous status and most serious current offence or charge (percent) [see attached PDF for graph]