Prison facts and statistics - December 2010

This page shows statistical information on the:

Prisoner population by location and status
(as at December 30 2010)


Christchurch Men's191382573
Hawke's Bay111489600
Mt Eden223179402
New Plymouth1291103
Spring Hill0820820
Auckland Women's77222299
Christchurch Women's2083103

Total prison population

A graph showing the total prison population since July 2008.

View a larger version of the total prison population graph.

Percentage of prisoners in different age groups

The prison population was made up of the following age ranges as at December 2010: 6.1% of prisoners were 15-19, 19% were 20-24, 16.5% were 25-29, 14% were 30-34, 12.9% were 35-39, 12% were 40-44, 8.9% were 45-49, 5.1% were 50-54, 2.6% were 55-59, 1.4% were 60-64, 1% were 65-69 and 0.7% were 70 or older.

Percentage of sentenced prisoners according to most serious* offence type

The percentage of prisoners serving time for different types of offences as at December 2010 was: 41.4% had a most serious offence involving violence, 20.9% have a most serious offence of a sexual nature, 17% had a most serious offence involving dishonesty and 10.8% had a most serious offence involving drugs and anti-social offending.

* Prisoners may be convicted of offences across multiple categories. This information is based on the most serious offence a prisoner is convicted of.

Ethnicity of prisoners

The percentage of prisoners of different ethnicities as at December 2010 was: 50.6% Maori, 33.9% European, 11.2% Pacific peoples, 2.7% asian and 1% other.

Security classification of sentenced prisoners

The percentages of prisoners of different security classifications as at December 2010 was: 19.2% minimum, 21.2% low, 33.9% low medium, 22.2% high, 1.4% maximum and 2.2% unclassified.

Percentage of sentenced prisoners on indeterminate sentences*

As at December 2010, 10.8% of the prison population were on preventive detention or life sentences that have no end date.

* Indeterminate sentences refer to preventive detention and life sentences that have no end date. Prisoners on these sentences are only released at the discretion of the Parole Board and are subject to recall to prison if released on parole.

International rates of imprisonment

Number of prisoners per 100,000 population

United States748
South Africa324
New Zealand199
England and Wales152
Figures reflect the prison and national populations from mid 2009 or mid 2010.

Other facts and figures

  • Approximately 50 per cent of those released or paroled do not return to prison within four years
  • The average annual cost of housing a prisoner is $90,936 or $249.14 per day
  • Prisoners are fed at a cost of less than $5 a day per person
  • 67 per cent of sentenced prisoners are engaged in employment activity
  • 55 per cent of sentenced prisoners are engaged in rehabilitation activity
  • 23 per cent of the total prison population are gang members
  • Corrections provided 44,596 pre-sentence reports to the judiciary in the 2008/09 financial year

* Most of the figures under Other statistics come from the 2008/09 financial year or from a snapshot at 30 June 2009. Re-imprisonment figures are from a 2008 report Reconviction patterns of released prisoners: A 48-month follow up analysis