New ABS figures show WA imprisonment rates on the rise

Official figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Western Australia’s prisons have the second highest imprisonment rates in the country.

The ABS “Prisoners in Australia, 2012” report shows that while Australia has a current imprisonment rate of 168 prisoners per 100,000 adults, the figures for WA are significantly higher at 267 prisoners per 100,000 adults.

WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch said the latest figures from the ABS back up what the union has been saying for a long time, that WA’s prisons are overflowing.

“While Queensland and NSW have seen their prisoner numbers fall over the past ten years WA’s prison population has increased by 37% (from 195 to 267 prisoners per 100,000 adults).

"The ABS statistics show that between 2011 and 2012 Western Australia’s prison population grew by 7%."

Mr Welch said these latest figures supported its claim that the prison system was nearing crisis.

“At a time when the Barnett Government is cutting the budget of the Department of Corrective Services we are seeing significant rises in the prison population put greater strain on WA’s jails.

WAPOU recently launched the "Respect the Risk" campaign to draw attention to the plight of prison officers and the difficult jobs they do.

“Prison officers are calling for new prison facilities to deal with the chronic overcrowding, proper staffing levels and better pay and conditions.

“Today’s ABS statistics show the real truth about the state’s prison system. It's time for the Barnett Government to start fixing the problems,” said Mr Welch.

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