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State of imprisonment: out one day, back the next in Queensland

In The Conversation (16.4.15) Robin Fitzgerald and Adrian Cherney write:

‘Queensland’s rate of imprisonment has recently undergone a reversal, following several years of what appeared to be a declining trend. Contrary to other states and territories, from 2002 to 2012 the rate of imprisonment in Queensland dropped by 6% from 168 to 159 prisoners per 100,000 adults. In 2013 this trend reversed and by 2014 the rate had reached 193 prisoners per 100,000, a 21% increase over the 2002 figure.

‘In addition, over this period Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) has increasingly accommodated prisoners in high-security rather than low-security prisons. In 2013, capacity in high-security facilities was at 93% compared to 63% in low-security facilities.

‘The increase in prisoner numbers and greater use of high-security facilities might seem to indicate that Queensland has recently become more punitive, with tougher and longer sentences. However, evidence suggests at least part of the rise in prison numbers may be due to the greater proportion of offenders who return to prison either following or during a period of supervision in the community.’

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