World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems
Category : Criminal Justice System
World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems
1. Political system.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a federalist
government composed of a national government and
six State governments. The government of the
Commonwealth is responsible for the enforcement of
its own laws. The most frequently prosecuted
Commonwealth offenses are those related to the
importation of drugs and the violation of social
security laws. Offenses against a person or
against property occurring in Commonwealth
facilities are also regarded as offenses against
The States are primarily responsible for the
development of criminal law. Queensland, Western
Australia, and Tasmania are described as "code"
States because they have enacted criminal codes
which define the limits of the criminal law. The
remaining three States, New South Wales, Victoria,
and South Australia are regarded as "common law'~
States because they have not attempted
codification. In practice, however, there is
little difference in the elements of the criminal
law between the "code" and "common law" States.
Local governments can pass legislation, known
as bylaws. These generally include social nuisance
offenses as well as traffic and parking rules.
Local government officials or the State and
Territory police generally enforce the local
government bylaws. The maximum penalty that can be
imposed for conviction of a bylaw offense is a
monetary fine. However, non-payment of fines can
result in imprisonment.
2. Leqal system.
The structure of the Australian legal system
is derived from, and still closely follows, that
of the United Kingdom. In addition to
parliament-made law, there is the "common law~
inherited from the English courts which has since
been developed and refined by Australian courts.
It should be noted, however, that since 1963
Australian courts have ceased to regard English
decisions as superior or even equal in authority
to those made by Australian courts. The legal
system is adversarial in nature and places a high
value on the presumption of innocence.
Due to the federalist system of government,
there are nine separate legal systems in
operation. Although there are some significant
differences between these systems, they are
essentiallv similar in structure and operation.
3. History of the criminal justice system.
For thousands of years Australia was
inhabited by an indigenous people, now known as
the Aborigines. In 1788, a British Penal Colony
was established in the southeast part of the
continent. Other settlements of European people
were subsequently established elsewhere, leading
to the creation of six independent British
colonies: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland,
Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
These colonies became a federation in 1901, to
eventually form the States of the Commonwealth of
Australia, although since then, the Northern
Territory and the Australian Capital Territory
have been granted self government.
The Commonwealth of Australia has nine
separate parliaments or legislatures, most of
which have lower and upper houses. There are also
several hundred local government authorities,
known as councils or shires.
The national or Commonwealth Government is
responsible for defense, foreign affairs, customs,
income tax, post and telegraphs. The State or
Territory Governments have primary responsibility
for health, education and criminal justice,
although the Commonwealth Government is also
influential in these areas. Local governments are
responsible for municipal functions such as town
planning and the provision of civic amenities.
There exists a level of tension between the
governments at the State or Territory level and
the Government of the Commonwealth. This tension
is almost exclusively concerned with the issue of
the allocation of monies raised from income tax
and the appropriate distribution of power. Since
the 1970s, there has been a noticeable shift of
power toward the Commonwealth Government.
1. Classification of crimes.
*Legal classification. Crime is generally
defined as any conduct which is prohibited by law
and which may result in punishment. Crimes can be
classified as either felony, misdemeanor or minor
offenses, but more commonly they are classified as
indictable or not indictable offenses. Indictable
offenses are those which are heard by the superior
courts and may require a jury, whereas
non-indictable offenses, which comprise the vast
majority of court cases, are heard in magistrates
courts, where no juries are employed.
While there are some classification
differences among the various jurisdictions, in
all jurisdictions indictable offenses generally
include homicide, robbery, serious sexual and
non-sexual assault, fraud, burglary and serious
theft. In some jurisdictions, such as South
Australia, there is a group of "minor indictable"
offenses which can be heard in the superior or
lower courts, according to the wish of the
Criminal justice statistics are based on a
classification scheme which divides crimes into
offenses against the person, property
offenses and "other".
*Age of criminal responsibility. The minimum age
of criminal responsibility and the upper age limit
for hearings in juvenile courts varies among
Australian States and Territories. The minimum
age of criminal responsibility, followed by the
maximum age limit for hearings in the juvenile
court in the various jurisdictions are as follows:
New South Wales: 10 and 17; Victoria: 8 and 16;
Queensland: 10 and 16; Western Australia: 7 and
17; South Australia: 10 and 17; Tasmania: 7 and
16; Northern Territory: 10 and 16; and the
Australian Capital Territory: 8 and 17. The
minimum age of criminal responsibility in juvenile
courts is 7, while the minimum age to be tried in
an adult court is 16.
In all jurisdictions, any child above the age
of criminal responsibility who is charged with
homicide can be tried in an adult court. In some
jurisdictions, juveniles may have their offenses
tried in adult courts for offenses such as rape
*Drug offenses. Drug offenses constitute a major
focus of all Australian criminal justice systems.
The possession, use, sale, distribution,
importation, manufacturing or trafficking of a
wide range of drugs is illegal in all Australian
jurisdictions. Illegal drugs include: marijuana
(cannabis), heroin, designer drugs (ice,
ecstasy), amphetamines (speed, LSD) and cocaine
While the possession or use of any of these
drugs is illegal, in some jurisdictions, notably
South Australia and the Australian Capital
Territory, marijuana has been partially
decriminalized. Its possession or use may result
in the imposition of a relatively small fine
without the need to appear in court.
2. Crime statistics.
The following data has been compiled by the
Australian Institute of Criminology from
information contained in the annual reports of
Australian police forces for the year 1991-92.
*Murder. Homicide includes murder, manslaughter
(not by driving) and infanticide. In 1991-1992,
there were 356 homicides reported to the police,
for a rate of 2.0 per 100,000 population.
Attempts are not included.
*Rape. Rape is defined as unlawful sexual
intercourse with another person by force or
without the consent of the other person. In
1991-1992, there were 48,698 rapes reported to the
police, for a rate of 278.3 per 100,000
*Theft. Robbery is defined as the unlawful
removing or taking of property or attempted
removal or taking of property without consent by
force or threat of force immediately before or
after the event. In 1991-1992, there were 11,780
robbery offenses reported to the police, for a
rate of 67.3 per 100,000 population.
*Drug offenses. Drug offenses include the
cultivation, manufacturing, importation,
trafficking, sale, possession and use of narcotic
or dangerous drugs. In 1991-1992, there were
86,470 drug offenses reported to the police, for a
rate of 494.1 per 100,000 population.
*Crime regions. There is a clear link between
population density and the incidence of most types
of crime. Crime rates are higher in large cities
than in small towns or rural communities. This
pattern is found in all Australian jurisdictions
with the exception of the Northern Territory,
where nearly all crime rates are higher than the
Australian average. This is thought to be
associated with the high crime rates found in
Aboriginal communities. The Aborigines make up
22% of the total population in the Northern
Territory, whereas they comprise only 1.5% of the
entire Australian population.
1. Groups most victimized by crime.
A number of large victim surveys conducted in
Australia have consistently shown that most
victims do not report crimes to the police. The
main reasons that victims have cited for not
reporting are that they consider the offence to be
trivial or they believe the police either could
not or would not do anything about the crime
report. Such surveys have also found that victims
are more likely to be men than women, young than
old, unemployed and less well educated than the
2. Victims' assistance agencies.
There are a number of agencies that provide
crime victim assistance in all Australian
jurisdictions. These agencies include rape crisis
centers, women's shelters, safe houses and
voluntary organizations such as Victims of Crime
Assistance League (VOCAL) and Victims of Crime
3. Role of victim in prosecution and sentencing.
Crime victims do not play an active role in
the prosecution or sentencing of an offender in
any Australian jurisdiction.
4. Victims' rights legislation.
South Australia has enacted a Victims of
Crime Charter, based on the United Nations
Charter. This charter provides for victim impact
statements to be prepared and used in certain
cases and for victims to be consulted at the
various stages in the criminal iustice process.
Australia has one police force for each of
the six States and the Northern Territory. There
is also a Commonwealth agency known as the
Australian Federal Police which provides police
services for the Australian Capital Territory and
is also involved in preventing, detecting and
investigating crimes committed against the
Commonwealth. Thus, there are eight separate
police forces for the nation. There are, however,
a large number of other agencies which have
specific law enforcement functions, including
health inspectors, tax officials, and immigration
and customs officers.
All Australian police forces have a
hierarchical organization. In the larger police
forces, the chief officer is known as the
Commissioner, except in Victoria, where he or she
is known as the Chief Commissioner. The larger
forces also have one or more Deputy Commissioners
and a number of Assistant Commissioners. Below
these ranks are Chief Superintendents,
Superintendents, Chief Inspectors and Inspectors.
Officers achieving the rank of Inspector or above
are known as commissioned officers. The remaining
ranks consist of Senior Sergeants, Sergeants,
Senior Constables and Constables.
In the State and Northern Territory police
forces, the administration is divided into
geographical districts, which are themselves
divided into divisions and subdistricts. There
is also a movement towards increasing the autonomy
of regional police commanders in many Australian
The Commissioner of Police is directly
accountable to a Minister, but the Minister is
usually not permitted to influence the operation
and decisions of police commanders. An Australian
Police Ministers Council (APMC) meets at least
once a year and is supported by the Commissioners
in this context as the Senior Officers Group
(SOG). The APMC and SOG structures have attempted
to create a higher level of cooperation and
uniformity of police practices throughout
Australian police forces are not closely
associated with the military forces. Australian
military forces have no responsibility for the
maintenance of civil order. However, on very rare
occasions the military forces have been required
to provide assistance to the police. In the event
of a serious natural disaster, such as a flood or
bush fire, the military forces are asked to assist
the police and other civilian authorities.
*Expenditures. The total police expenditure for
Australia in 1991- 1992 was approximately 2,743
million dollars with a per capita expenditure of
158.3 million dollars. (The approximate
expenditure on each Australian police force for
the year 1991-92, followed by the per capita
expenditure in each jurisdiction is as follows (in
millions of dollars): New South Wales: 923.2 total
and 156.4 per capita; Victoria: 549.6 total and
124.1 per capita; Queensland: 442.9 total and
149.0 per capita; Western Australia: 242.3 total
and 145.4 per capita; South Australia: 261.8 total
and 179.7 per capita; Tasmania: 57.5 total and
124.9 per capita; Northern Territory: 54.9 total
and 345.8 per capita; and Australian Federal
Police: 211.2 total. The per capita expenditure
was not calculated for the Australian Federal
Police because while a significant part of this
police force is devoted to the Australian Capital
Territory, the remainder serves the whole of
*Number of police. The number of police
personnel for the year 1991-1992 is as follows:
New South Wales: 16,017; Victoria: 11,794;
Queensland: 6,271; Western Australia: 4,129; South
Australia: 5,749; Tasmania: 1,014; Northern
Territory: 224; and Australian Federal Police:
*Availability of police automobiles. Australian
police forces have a total of 9,662 motor
vehicles. These include sedans, station wagons,
panel vans, motorcycles, four-wheel drive
vehicles, prison vans, trucks, buses and utility
vehicles. The number of vehicles among the
various Australian police forces in 1991 are as
follows: New South Wales: 2,993; Victoria: 2,035;
Queensland: 1,297; Western Australia: 1,405; South
Australia: 1,079; Tasmania: 413; Northern
Territory: 268; and Australian Capital Territory:
*Electronic equipment. All Australian police
forces have access to computer records, radio
communications and radar. Computer-aided dispatch
is available in metropolitan areas and some larger
rural areas, while in more isolated areas police
communications are limited to radio and
*Weapons. All rank and file police officers are
issued .38 caliber revolvers. Special squads are
issued semi-automatic weapons. Bullet proof vests
are available in each police force, but they are
only issued to individual police officers in
4. Traininq and qualifications.
Australian police recruits are required to
have completed their secondary education, although
it is not always essential to have been awarded a
qualification known as Higher School Certificate.
A university degree is not generally required of
police in Australia except for specialist posts.
University training is encouraged for all recruits
to the Australian Federal Police and increasingly
in other police forces.
Recruits must undergo medical and
psychological tests and are evaluated on their
overall suitability, competence, physical fitness
and character. Recruit training is a combination
of classroom and field-based experience which
takes approximately 18 months to complete. A
portion of this training takes place in a police
academy and the remainder is conducted on the job.
*Use of force. All police officers may use
"appropriate" force when encountering violent
persons. "Appropriate" is defined by the level of
force required to overcome and apprehend the
person(s). Police officers may use "lethal" force
on a person if they believe their life or the life
of another person is in danger. "Lethal" is
defined as the level of force that might result in
the person's death.
All police officers carry handguns and
handcuffs. They rarely carry batons; these are
usually kept in police cars.
*Stop/apprehend a suspect. In general, a police
officer may stop and apprehend any person who
appears to be committing, or is about to commit,
*Decision to arrest. The vast majority of
arrests are made without a warrant although there
are jurisdictional differences concerning
prerequistes to arrest.
As an alternative to arrest, police can
"caution" suspects. There are published
guidelines used by the police in relation to the
cautioning of suspects, especially for juveniles.
Cautioning can be informal, in which the
individual police officer warns the offender.
Cautioning can also be formal, in which the
suspected offender is required to appear before a
senior officer for the cautioning, although no
court appearance is required.
*Search and seizure. Police are generally
required to obtain a search warrant from a judge
or a magistrate before they enter premises and
seize property. However, illegal drugs and
weapons can be seized without a warrant.
*Confessions. Whereas the issue of obtaining
confessions from suspected offenders has been a
controversial subject in the past, the controversy
has diminished with the onset of video. Virtually
all interviews with persons suspected of serious
offenses are videotaped.
Complaints against the police are
investigated by different authorities in different
jurisdictions. The principal agencies involved in
each jurisdiction are the following: New South
Wales: State Ombudsman, Independent Commission
Against Corruption and the Police Force's Internal
Affairs Department; Victoria: State Ombudsman;
Queensland: Criminal Justice Commission and the
Police Force's Internal Affairs Department;
Western Australia: State Ombudsman; South
Australia: Police Complaints Authority; Tasmania:
Police Force's Internal Affairs Department;
Northern Territory: Territory Ombudsman;
Australian Capital Territory and Australian
Federal Police: Federal Ombudsman.
PROSECUTORIAL AND JUDICIAL PROCESS
1. Rights of the Accused
*Rights of the accused at trial. All accused
persons have the right to defend themselves in
court but in serious cases most prefer to be
represented by a legal practitioner. A recent
decision by the High Court of Australia held that
in all serious matters if the accused does not
have access to legal advice, the case must be
adjourned. (Dietrich, 1992).
In any trial, both the prosecution and the
defense have the right to question and cross
examine witnesses. In New South Wales, the
accused person also has the right to make an
unsworn statement, thus avoiding being cross-
examined by the prosecution. This practice has
been abolished in all other Australian
*Assistance to the accused. A national system
for the provision of free legal aid to accused
persons was established in 1993 and subsequently
some of the States have established legal service
commissions which monitor and oversee the
provision of this service. Eligibility to receive
legal aid depends on the financial means of the
individual and the merit of the case being
defended. Legal aid is provided either through the
salaried staff of a Legal Aid Commission or by
assignment to private legal practitioners. Also,
an extensive number of Aboriginal legal services
throughout Australia receive separate funding
from national or state leqal services.
*Preparatory procedures for bringing a suspect to
trial. Arrested persons are brought to a police
station where charges are brought against them.
Before being charged, the arrested person is
usually searched. The police are empowered to use
force if the search is resisted. In all serious
cases, arrested persons are photographed and
finger printed before being charged. If no
charges are brought, the accused person is
In most jurisdictions the police allow
arrested persons to make a telephone call to a
legal adviser, friend or relative. After the
charging procedures are completed, the accused is
either released on bail or held in custody.
The role of the police in pre-trial decision-
making includes performing the necessary
investigation and detection work, filing charges
and, except for the Australian Capital Territory,
prosecuting the case in court. In some cases and
in all Federal matters, the Director of Public
Prosecutions is involved in determining what
charges will be brought. If the Director decides
that the case should be heard on indictment (heard
in a superior court), a committal or preliminary
hearing in a lower court is usually held in order
to discover whether there is sufficient evidence
to proceed with the trial.
If the accused pleads guilty to a charge, the
judge or magistrate may immediately impose a
sentence without setting the case for trial.
Thus, guilty pleas help to speed case flow and
reduce case overload in the court system.
If the accused pleads not guilty, the
evidence of the prosecution and defense are heard
in an adversarial manner in court. Cases
involving serious charges are heard in a higher
court with a 12-member jury. However, in some
cases, the accused person has the right to waive a
*Official who conducts prosecution. Police will
often conduct the prosecution for lower court
cases, but not for those in the higher courts.
*Alternatives to trial. In some jurisdictions
there are alternatives to formal charging and
court appearance procedures. These alternatives
involve the use of community justice centers or
dispute resolution centers to provide for the
resolution of disputes between conflicting
individuals. The proceedings in these centers are
relatively informal and the hearings are less
expensive than court procedures. In addition,
most States have small claims tribunals or courts
that allow for minor matters to be settled without
involving the police or lawyers.
Although plea bargaining is not officially
permitted in any jurisdiction, some commentators
have suggested there exists a form of charge
bargaining, an arrangement by which an individual
chooses to plead guilty to one or two particular
charges with the understanding that other charges
will be dropped.
*Proportion of prosecuted cases going to trial.
Information not obtained.
*Pre-trial incarceration conditions. Pre-trial
incarceration is usually referred to as "remanded
*Bail procedure. In all jurisdictions there is a
strong presumption in favor of granting bail.
Bail can be granted either by police or by the
courts. There are three main grounds for the
denial of bail and remanding an individual in
custody: 1) to prevent the offense from being
continued or repeated; 2) to ensure that the
offender does not abscond and appears in court as
required; and 3) to ensure that the accused person
does not interfere with the process of justice
(for instance, by contacting jurors or witnesses).
Generally, suspects brought on very serious
charges, such as homicide, are remanded in custody
for a substantial period of time while awaiting
*Proportion of pre-trial offenders incarcerated.
Approximately 13% of all Australian prisoners are
awaiting trial with the period of stay on remand
varying between a few days to more than one year
in a small number of cases.
Australia has a hierarchical system of courts
with the High Court of Australia operating at the
top. The High Court of Australia is the final
court of appeal for all other courts. It is also
the court which has sole responsibility for
interpreting the Australian Constitution.
Within each State and Territory there is a
Supreme Court and, in the larger jurisdictions, an
intermediate court below it, known as the District
Court, District and Criminal Court, or County
Court. There is no intermediate court in Tasmania
or in the two territories.
Below the intermediate courts there are
Magistrates Courts at which virtually all civil
and criminal proceedings commence. Approximately
95% of criminal cases are resolved at the
Magistrates Courts level.
Parallel to the Supreme Courts in the States
and Territories is a Federal Court that is
primarily concerned with the enforcement of
Commonwealth Law, such as that related to trade
practices, but that also hears appeals from the
Supreme Courts of the Territories.
2. Special Courts.
Juvenile/Children's Courts. Each State and
Territory has a children's or juvenile court.
Children's courts are invariably closed to the
public and the press in order to protect the
anonymity of the accused.
Coroners Courts. These courts investigate
suspicious deaths and fires. Some coroners courts
have the authority to recommend persons for trial
in higher courts.
Other Courts. There are many other courts in
Australia such as the Family Court, the Industrial
Court, Small Claims Tribunals, Licensing Courts,
Mining Courts, Land and Environment Courts, and
Courts of Disputed Returns, but few, if any, of
these courts deal with criminal behavior.
*Number of judges. The High Court of Australia
has seven judges. Since its creation in 1901
there have been 37 appointments to the High Court.
Except for one, all appointments have been male.
The Supreme Courts in each State and
Territory are headed by a Chief Justice. The
actual number of judges varies according to the
size of the state. For example, there are 34
Supreme Court judges in New South Wales and seven
in Western Australia. There are over 100 Supreme
Court judges in Australia, all of whom are
assisted by secretaries, bailiffs, associates, and
Masters and Registrars of the Court.
The number of judges at the intermediate
court level is almost twice the number at the
Supreme Court level. There are approximately 500
magistrates in Australia. In some jurisdictions,
lay persons are appointed as Justices of the
Peace. Although, in the past, these lay persons
were able to convene courts and sentence
offenders, this power has largely been removed in
*Appointment and qualifications. All of the
persons appointed to the High Court of Australia
have been distinguished members of the legal
profession, but a significant minority of them
have also had political experience or have been
judges in a Supreme or Federal Court.
The appointment of judges at each government
level is the responsibility of the relevant
government. In the case of the High Court and the
Federal Court, formal judicial appointments are
made by the Governor General. The Governor of the
State formally appoints judges to the Supreme
Courts. The identification and recommendation of
persons to be appointed as judges in each
jurisdiction is primarily the responsibility of
the corresponding Attorney-General.
PENALTIES AND SENTENCING
1. Sentencing process.
*Who determines the sentence? In cases where a
person either pleads guilty or is found guilty,
the sentence is determined by the judge or
magistrate responsible for the case.
*Is there a special sentencing hearing? In
complex or serious cases there is frequently an
adjournment to allow the judicial officer to
consider the appropriate sentence and to hear
argument from the prosecution and defense in
relation to sentence.
*Which persons have input into the sentencing
process? Victim impact statements may be
submitted in South Australia. In other
jurisdictions pre-sentence reports are prepared to
assist the judicial officer, usually by probation
officers. Pre-sentence reports may also include a
2. Types of penalties.
*Range of penalties. All jurisdictions permit
the following penalties to be imposed: fines,
probation orders (supervision or recognizance
orders), community service orders or imprisonment.
Some jurisdictions provide for the imposition of
home detention. Home detention is usually employed
as a post-prison order rather than as an order
imposed directly by the sentencing court.
*Death penalty. Capital punishment and corporal
punishment have been abolished in all Australian
jurisdictions. The last execution took place in
*Number of prisons and type. A11 prisons are the
responsibility of states or territories. There
are no federal penitentiaries or local jails.
There are approximately 80 prisons throughout
Australia. This number is an approximation
because several large institutions are subdivided
into administratively independent units. Although
most prisons are designated as either high,
medium, or low security facilities, most are
occupied by prisoners at varying levels of
*Number of prison beds. Information not
*Average daily/number of prisoners. In May 1993,
the total number of prisoners in Australia was
14,335, of which 13,640 were male and 695 were
female. The rate for imprisonment in Australia
was 80.6 per 100,000 population. There has been
considerable concern over the rate of
imprisonment, since it varies by jurisdiction. (The
rate of imprisonment per 100,000 population in
each jurisdiction, followed by the total number of
prisoners, and male and female breakdowns, are as
follows: New South Wales: 103.2 (total=6,230;
male=5,914, female=316); Victoria: 50.0
(total=2,258, male=2, 145, female=113);
Queensland: 68.8 (total=2,064, male=1,984,
female=80); Western Australia: 110.8 (total=1,911,
male=1,808, female=103); South Australia: 73. 0
(total=l, 087, male=l, 033, female=54); Tasmania:
55.9 (total=261, male=249, female=12); Northern
Territory: 268.3 (total=432, male=420, female=12);
and Australian Capital Territory: 29.8 (total=92,
male=87, female=5. Australian Institute of
Approximately 15% of all prisoners are
identified as Aborigines. This figure has been
cause for concern since Aborigines comprise only
1.5% of the total Australian population.
*Number of annual admissions. Approximately
27,000 sentenced prisoners are received into
prison in Australia each year and a much higher
number of unconvicted prisoners are received on
*Actual or estimated proportion of inmates
incarcerated. Although violent crime constitutes
a very small proportion of all crime in Australia,
this category contributes the most to the numbers
of people in prison at any one time.The total number
and percentage of inmates incarcerated for various
crimes, as of June 30, 1992:
Drug Crimes 1,522 (10%)
Violent Crimes 6,484 (42%)
(theft) 1,333 (8%)
Other Crimes 6,220 (40%)
Total Crimes 15,559 (100%)
Violent crimes include homicide (1,517);
assault (1,483); sex offenses (1,662); and robbery
(1,822). Other crimes include: break and enter
(2,340); fraud (544) driving and other traffic of
fenses (1,007); breach of probation or similar
court orders (950); receiving stolen goods (319);
and "other" offenses (1,060).
*Administration. Information not obtained.
*Prison guards. In 1991-1992, there was a total
of 7,348 custodial staff personnel. (The number of
custodial staff personnel by jurisdiction,
followed by the prisoner/staff ratio is as
follows: New South Wales: 2,516 [2.4:1];
Victoria: 1,341 [1.7:1]; Queensland: 1,283
[1.5:1]; Western Australia: 1,018 [1.8:1]; South
Australia: 704 [1:5.1]; Tasmania: 178 [1.5:1];
Northern Territory: 258 [1.8:1]; and Australian
Capital Territory: 48 [0.4:1]).
*Training and qualifications. Generally, the
training period for prison officers varies from 3
to 12 months and always involves a combination of
classroom study and on-the-job training. Prison
officers are required to undertake further study
and pass examinations in order to be considered
for promotion in the prison system. In Western
Australia, persons who are appointed as
superintendents or officers in charge of
institutions must obtain some form of tertiary
*Expenditure on the prison system. In 1991-1992,
the average cost per prisoner per day was 124.8 in
Australian dollars. Among jurisdictions, in
1991-1992, the average cost per prisoner per day
in Australian dollars was as follows: New South
Wales: 106.3; Victoria: 152.0; Queensland: 122.2;
Western Australia: 145.6; South Australia: 143.9;
Tasmania: 108.6; Northern Territory: 110.8; and
Australian Capital Territory: 377.2. The very high
cost per day for the Australian Capital Territory
in part is explained by the fact that all of its
sentenced prisoners are transferred to New South
Wales. The only prisoners who are detained in the
Australian Capital Territory are unconvicted
prisoners on remand.
3. Prison conditions.
*Remissions. Until recently all convicted
Australian prisoners were entitled to earn
remissions or time off for good behavior. This
approach has since been changed in New South Wales
and Victoria as a result of support for an
approach known as "truth in sentencing". This
change is said to have resulted in a significant
increase in the number of inmates in prisons,
particularly in New South Wales.
All States and Territories in Australia have
provisions for parole and virtually all persons
serving sentences of one year or more are released
under a parole system. Most of the time, the
number of persons serving parole is approximately
two thirds of the total number of persons in
prison. In addition, for every person in prison,
there are approximately four persons serving other
forms of non-custodial sentences such as probation
or community service.
*Work/education. All prisons have provisions for
work, education and training, recreation and
*Amenities/privileges. Inmates classified as
requiring low security are able to obtain weekend
leave. Other privileges are also available.
EXTRADITION AND TREATIES
*Extradition. Australia has entered into a
number of treaties with foreign countries to
facilitate the extradition of offenders and to
provide mutual assistance in the investigation of
*Exchange of prisoners. Australia has not yet,
however, entered into any multilateral or
bilateral treaties which would facilitate the
transfer of foreign prisoners. This subject is
under active consideration in Australia at the
present time (1993). The available evidence
suggests that approximately 200 Australian
prisoners are serving sentences in as many as 30
countries in other parts of the world, and a
slightly larger number of foreign prisoners are
serving sentences in Australian prisons.
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