Knowledge and Resource Hub
25 September 2018

Imprisonment and recidivism: Issues paper

This is a discussion paper from the Queensland Productivity Commission highlighting the key issues to be addressed in its inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism in Queensland. The inquiry is being conducted at the request of the Queensland government in response to concerns about increases in prisoner numbers and high rates of recidivism. The number of people in Queensland prisons has risen more than 50 per cent in the five years to 2017, and more than half of prisoners reoffend and are given a new sentence within two years of their release. The rate of imprisonment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continues to outstrip the rate for the rest of the population, and imprisonment rates for women have been increasing faster than for men. This growth in prisoner numbers has significant social and economic implications for affected individuals and their families, the wider community and for the Queensland government. The Commission will investigate factors that are likely to have the greatest impacts on the social and financial costs (and benefits) of imprisonment and recidivism. It will specifically focus on: trends in imprisonment and recidivism rates and the causal factors behind those trends, including those for young people, women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; the costs and benefits of imprisonment; and the options to reduce imprisonment and recidivism and improve community outcomes.