Adult Indigenous imprisonment rate up 77% in 15 years


The adult imprisonment rate increased 77% between 2000 and 2015, and whilst the juvenile detention rate has decreased it is still 24 times the rate for non-Indigenous youth, and hospitalisation rates for self-harm have increased by 56% over the last decade.
That’s the worst news in the 2016 Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID) report which also shows some positive trends in the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, according to Peter Harris, Chair of the Productivity Commission.
Two years on from the previous report there continues to be improvement in many areas of health, economic participation and aspects of education. But areas such as justice and mental health remain concerning, with increases in imprisonment rates and hospitalisations for self-harm.
“It is encouraging to see improvement over the last decade in rates of year 12 completion and post school education,” says Mr Harris.
The OID report continues to provide comprehensive reporting, with a “strengths-based” focus. It also includes some case studies on “things that work” to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
“If we are to see improvements in outcomes we need to know which policies work and why. But the overwhelming lack of robust, public evaluation of programs highlights the imperative for Indigenous policy evaluation,” says Deputy Chair Karen Chester.
The report is produced by the Productivity Commission for the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians involved in its development. This report is the seventh in the series.
Some outcomes:-
Mortality rates for children improved between 1998 and 2014, particularly for under one year olds, whose mortality rates more than halved (from 14 to 6 deaths per 1000 live births).
Education improvements included increases in the proportion of 20–24 year olds completing year 12 or above (from 2008 to 2014-15) and the proportion of 20–64 year olds with or working towards post-school qualifications (from 2002 to 2014-15).
The proportion of adults whose main income was from employment increased from 32% in 2002 to 43% in 2014-15, with household income increasing over this period.
Rates of family and community violence were unchanged between 2002 and 2014-15 (around 22%), and risky long-term alcohol use in 2014-15 was similar to 2002 (though lower than 2008).
The proportion of adults reporting high levels of psychological distress increased from 27% in 2004-05 to 33 per cent in 2014-15, and hospitalisations for self-harm increased by 56% over this period.
The proportion of adults reporting substance misuse in the previous 12 months increased from 23% in 2002 to 31% in 2014-15.


  1. Has Australia banned the ownership of handguns or other non essential firearms? By non essential I mean weapons used to protect livestock, personal property, and for police officers used for protection from violence. Peace.


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