The prison sentenced population demonstrates continuous and steady growth since 1986. The seasonal pattern of reduced numbers toward the end of each year is well established, and reflects the influence of the prisoner Christmas release policy 1 , as well as cycles of activity involving Police and the Courts. Notable is the sharp upturn in numbers which commenced in mid-2003, continuing through to June 2007.
1 Prisoners whose release date falls between mid-December and early January the following year are eligible to be released early in December; this policy aims to promote reintegration by ensuring that prisoners are able to access relevant social services and supports that might otherwise be closed during the Christmas – New Year period.
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