On the night of 30 June 2009, 82% of the Territory’s prison population were Indigenous

Contrary to popular belief, inmates are people too. The Territory, Australia’s Northern Territory, is a law unto itself; literally. It is the equivalent of America’s Wild West, if you will. Perhaps not surprising then is that 6.5 of every 1,000 adults are imprisoned there compared to the national average of 1.7. Of course it’s no news that imprisonment and Australia go hand-in-hand. They always have.

41% of Territorian prisoners are locked-up for ‘Acts intended to cause injury’ and 12% for sexual assault and related offences. As of 2008-09, the average daily inmate population had reached 1030. Of those, 848 (82%) were Indigenous Australians. That is a rate of 22 per 1,000 aborigines incarcerated in the NT – less than the national average.

For the decade up to 2002-03 the majority of foreign national prisoners held in NT correctional institutions were classified as “people smugglers”. Most of the others are so-called “illegal foreign fisher” people. The Northern Territory also has Australia’s highest recidivism rate and at 2.3 per 100 prisoners, the highest escape rate too.

Australia has a proud history of law enforcement.

Correctional Services Annual Statistics 2008-2009, Northern Territory Government Department of Justice

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