Released Prisoners Returning to Prison

In Australia overall, 42.1% of prisoners released during 2011–12 returned under sentence within two years. Victoria’s rate of return to prison (39.5%) was slightly lower than the Australian average. The Northern Territory had the highest rate of recidivism to prison, at 51.7%.

Recidivism figures for the Australian Capital Territory are not presented because New South Wales houses the majority of full-time prisoners sentenced in the Australian Capital Territory.

For an analysis of the nine-year recidivism rates for all people sentenced in Victoria, see our Reoffending Following Sentence in Victoria: A Statistical Overview.

Figure 1: The percentage of prisoners released during 2011–12 returning to prison within two years of release (recidivism to prison)

Data for 2011–12 show that the Northern Territory had the highest percentage of prisoners returning to prison after release.

Table 1: Data for Figure 1

Jurisdiction Proportion
New South Wales 45.8%
Victoria 39.5%
Queensland 39.0%
South Australia 38.4%
Western Australia 39.0%
Tasmania 39.3%
Northern Territory 51.7%
Australia 42.1%

Source: Australian Productivity Commission, Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (2015), Report on Government Services 2015 (external link opens in a new window)