This report finds that Victoria’s prison population has increased by nearly 40% over the last 10 years, a rate faster than increases in the general population.
Victoria’s Prison Population 2002-2012 concludes that growth in Victoria’s prison population is due to a combination of factors, including:
- increased lengths of prison sentences
- increased use of custodial sentences in the higher courts
- increases in offences against the person, drug offences and offences against good order.
The prison population rose from 3,540 in 2002 to 4,884 in 2012. This resulted in the imprisonment rate increasing to 111.7 people in prison per 100,000 adults; however, in 2012 Victoria still had the second lowest imprisonment rate in Australia.
Alongside an increase in the imprisonment rate, there has been a significant increase in the number of prisoners held on remand, representing over 20% of the prison population in 2012.
The average length of prison sentences has increased, with the average expected time to serve for prisoners rising 22.2% over the ten-year period, from 40.1 to 49 months.