Prison population growth becoming a budget headache


Attorney-General Brad Hazzard and Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin

Corrective Services NSW isn’t the only agency with a challenge on its hands over prison growth. The prison population in the state could grow by 50% over the next 20 years, says one report — and the longer you stay in gaol, the longer you are likely to be homeless, says another.

New South Wales’ prison population will continue to rise both in the short and long-term, and will reach 15,600 by 2036 if the last decade’s growth rates continue, according to a report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The paper estimates that if relevant influences remain unchanged, the state will have 12,191 prisoners by March 2017. The prisoner population is approximately 11,000 at present.

Three scenarios were created using different age-specific rates of imprisonment (that is, the number of people in gaol in different age brackets) to produce long-term growth predictions.

The first assumed age-specific rates of imprisonment in NSW will continue to rise at the pace they have since 1982, the earliest point available. Under these circumstances, the NSW prison population would reach 17,600 by 2036.

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