RoGS report: 2 in 5 Queensland prisoners returned to custody

Two out of five inmates released from Queensland prisons were returned to custody for fresh criminal offences within two years of release, according to data released yesterday.

The same data shows First Nations people continue to be over-represented with one in two released inmates being returned to custody, as opposed to one in three non-Indigenous people in 2021-2022.

The Federal Government’s Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2023 (RoGS) also shows crimes dealt with by Queensland courts dropped by more than 50,000 last year – down from 232,342 criminal lodgements seven years ago (2014-15), to 182,000 (2021/2022).

Parts C and D of the commission’s 28th edition RoGS data dump – which provides a range of statistics pertaining to each Australian state and territory without analysis – on Tuesday covered government expenditure on justice (courts, police and corrective services), and emergency management (fire and other emergency events).

In 2021-22, a total of 42.4% percent of prisoners released from Queensland were returned to custody “with a new correctional sanction within two years”.

Of those returned to custody, 52.8% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, while 35.7% were non-Indigenous.


According to the commission’s website, the RoGS provides information to government to assist in the planning and evaluation of public policy.

“The annual report … provides information on the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of government services in Australia, which contributes to the wellbeing of all Australians by encouraging improvements in these services,” the website says.

“The Report is used by governments to inform planning and evaluation of policies, for budgeting (including to assess the resource needs and performance of government agencies) and to demonstrate government accountability.”

An overview of the report shows that, nationally, governments spent almost $22 billion of taxpayers’ dollars on justice in 2021-22 – an increase of 3.4% percent from the previous year.

“Police services was the largest contributor (64.5%), followed by corrective services (26.2%) and courts (9.2%),” the RoGS overview said.

“Nationally, expenditure per person on justice services was $854 in 2021‑22.


“For the 2020-21 financial year (the most recent financial year for which data are available across all sections), this represented around 6.6% of total government expenditure covered in this Report.”

See the RoGS Justice 2023 data.

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