Justice Sector Forecast: Prison Population 2014-2024

The Justice Sector Forecast covers the prison population (remand and sentenced), non-custodial sentences, legal aid expenditure, Crown Law case numbers, and court-imposed fines, amongst other things. Each major component is published in its own forecast at a different point in the year, and over the course of a year all components of the forecast are updated.

Forecasts for any particular agency are planned to appear at roughly 12-monthly intervals. Thus the next prison forecast will appear in or around October 2015. This timetable may be adjusted if there is a need to accommodate new legislative or operational initiatives.

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Commissioning agencies
Date of last publication
Dec 2014


This component of the Justice Sector Forecast projects those quantities relating to the custodial operations of the Department of Corrections, specifically:

  • The remand prison population
  • The sentenced prison population

These forecasts cover the period October 2014 to June 2024.

Key Results

The current forecast can be boiled down to the same two major trends as last year:

  • There are fewer people passing through the system; and
  • Those who are dealt with by the system are treated more severely in terms of likelihood of custodial remand, and in terms of the time they spend in prison.

The first trend has a downward influence on the prison population, while the second is an upward trend. The net result is a broadly flat prison forecast – the population in June 2024 is forecast to be about 3% above that in 2014. The key differences from last year’s forecast are a reassessment of the severity of treatment with particular reference to the use of custodial remand, and an improved estimate of the impact of the ‘three strikes’ legislation.

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