In June 2009, the Department of Corrective Services introduced a modified assessment and classification system for determining a prisoner’s security rating.  The model met its projected outcomes in terms of the flow through of non-Aboriginal prisoners to minimum security. However, Aboriginal prisoners, and especially Aboriginal women, have not achieved minimum security classifications to anything like the projected extent.  Specifically:

  • There has been a 28 per cent increase in the total number of non-Aboriginal women in prison. The number attaining minimum security has virtually doubled (from 64 to 121).
  • There has been a 33 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal women in prison. However, the number acquiring minimum security status has essentially remained static (around 55).
  • In 2009, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women were equally likely to acquire a minimum security rating (36-37 per cent). At June 2012, 54 per cent of non-Aboriginal female prisoners had a minimum security rating compared with only 27 per cent of Aboriginal women.

From a position of parity three years ago, Aboriginal women are therefore now half as likely as non-Aboriginal women to acquire minimum security status.

Figure: Trends in Minimum Security Demographics March 2009-2012

Graph of Trends in Minimum Security Demographics March 2009 - June 2012