Released Prisoners Returning to Prison

Recidivism among prisoners can be measured through the rate at which released prisoners return to prison.

In Australia, 44.3% of prisoners released during 2012–13 returned to prison within two years. Over the same period, 51.1% of prisoners returned to corrective services (including prison sentences and community orders). Victoria’s rate of return to prison (44.1%) was comparable with the Australian average (44.3%). The Northern Territory had the highest rate of people returning to prison, at 57.5%.

See our report Reoffending Following Sentence in Victoria: A Statistical Overview for an analysis of recidivism rates for all people sentenced in Victoria between July 2004 and June 2014.

Graph and table: the percentage of prisoners released during 2012–13 returning to prison within two years of release

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Jurisdiction Proportion
Northern Territory 57.5
New South Wales 48.1
Victoria 44.1
Queensland 40.9
Tasmania 39.9
Australian Capital Territory 38.7
South Australia 38.1
Western Australia 36.2

Source: Australian Productivity Commission, Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services 2016, Volume C, Table C.4 (2016) (external link opens in a new window)