Robyne Cuerel

Queensland has biggest prison population rise in country

NEW statistics have revealed Queensland had the highest annual increase in prisoner numbers in Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics found Queensland's prison population had increased by 16% at the year ending June 30 2014, the biggest increase of any state or territory.

Despite being the third most populous state, Queensland's prison population is second only to New South Wales and has the highest percentage of women behind bars.

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the statistics showed changes to the law were working.

"This state now has some of the strongest laws in the country and, combined with hundreds of extra police, crime has dropped dramatically in the past two-and-a-half years," he said.

"We're holding offenders accountable but we're also working to ensure they don't reoffend when they get out by investing more than $42 million in rehabilitation programs in this year's budget."

Despite Mr Bleijie's rehabilitation claims, two-thirds of Queensland prisoners have been the jail before.

The statistics show 66.3% of the state's prisoners have been to jail before - with only the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory possessing a higher percentage.

While Together union president Alex Scott did not return requests for comment yesterday, the union has previously expressed concerns regarding overcrowding in Queensland prisons.

The statistics showed Queensland had the most fraudsters in jail with 202, 60 more than Victoria and 25 more than NSW.

There are also more attempted murderers in Queensland prisons than in any other state, with 61.

- APN NEWSDESK



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