Report confirms WA still has highest Aboriginal incarceration rate in Australia

Wednesday 01 Feb 2017

The Productivity Commission’s latest annual report confirms WA is still locking up Aboriginal people at a faster rate than any other state or territory.

The latest federal Report on Government Services report shows WA has an Aboriginal incarceration rate of 3,745 people per 100,000 adults. The national average is 2,330.

The report shows WA also has the highest female imprisonment rate in the country, and the second highest rate overall.

“With figures like this, it’s no mystery to anyone why WA’s prison system is overflowing,” said WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch.

“A recent report by the Inspector of Custodial Services found the prison system is operating at 148% of its design capacity, and this is causing some serious issues in the system.

“If the State Government continues to lock people up at the rate it has been, we’re going to run out of places to put them.”

The report also found that WA had the lowest rates of eligible prisoners who were in education and training.

“Because of overcrowding and a lack of access to appropriate services, prisoners are not getting the opportunities they need for education and training,” said Mr Welch.

“These opportunities are considered an important part of tackling recidivism rates, so if the government wants to prevent people going back to prison, it has to address this issue.”

Other findings in the report included that WA has by far the lowest use of community corrections orders in the country, and that the net operating expenditure per prisoner per day had declined over the past three years.