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Tuesday, 19 February 1980
Page: 80

Dr Klugman asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 2 May 1979:

(   1 ) Is it a fact that the imprisonment rates (daily average prisoners per 100,000 of the population) in January 1979 was (by jurisdiction): ACT 16.0; Vic. 39.1; SA 56.0; Tas. 68.8; Qld 71.5; NSW 76.0; WA 103.9; and NT 148.2.

(2   ) If so, why is there such a great variation.

Mr Viner -The Attorney-General has provided the following answers to the honourable member's questions:

(1)   The statistics referred to are the same as those published in the March Newsletter of the Australian Institute of Criminology. The statistics on daily average prison populations are compiled and published by the Institute on a three monthly basis as one of its contributions to the improvement of criminal justice statistics in Australia. The figure for WA of 103.9 has since been revised to 1 10.8.

(2)   While a number of researches touching this area have been conducted in Australia, there appears to be no clear or definitive explanation for the differences in the imprisonment rates suggested by the statistics referred to by the honourable member.

In an article, produced under the auspices of the Australian Institute of Criminology, titled 'Prisons and Prisoners in Austrlaia', published in 1977 in D. Chappell and P. Wilson The Australian Criminal Justice System (2nd Edition, Sydney, 1977) some possible explanations of these differences are canvassed. The differences in the imprisonment rates between the Australian jurisdictions are also being considered by the Law Reform Commission in its inquiries in connection with the reference on sentencing given to it in August last year. The Institute of Criminology is collaborating with the Commission in those inquiries.

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