Female prison population soarsThe number of women in prison since 1986 has grown at nearly twice the rate of men, according to the Department of Corrections.
The Offender Volumes Report 2009 released today showed that between 1986 and 2009 the number of female sentenced prisoners increased from 98 to 389 - a growth of 297 percent. Male sentenced prisoners increased from 2359 to 6157 - a growth of 161 percent over the same period.
Other statistics in the report included:
* The number of sentenced youth prisoners decreased over the past 25 years. In 1986, there were 500 sentenced prisoners aged 15-19 years, in 2009 there were 400;
* The growth in the number of sentenced prisoners was largely driven by the growth in older (30 years plus) offenders. In 1980 prisoners aged over 30 were 20 percent of the sentenced population - this increased to over 60 percent now;
* Longer proven offending careers of prisoners. In 1980 almost 75 percent of sentenced prisoners had recorded their first conviction within the previous 10 years. In 2009, less than 38 percent had recorded their first conviction within the previous ten years;
* Growth in the percentage of offenders serving prison sentence for violent, sexual and drug-related offending;
* There were twice as many Maori 25-year-old males in prison than there were European males of the same age. Three percent of all Maori men aged 25 years old were in prison.