Language and birthplace

People in prison who were born overseas or whose first language is not English face added challenges during imprisonment, such as additional isolation, discrimination and marginalisation (Shepherd 2016; Watt et al. 2018).

Prison entrants and prison dischargees were asked about their country of birth and the primary language they spoke. It was a condition of obtaining consent that participants had to be able to understand the process of consent. As a result, this group of people might be under-represented in this data collection.

Most prison entrants (90%) and dischargees (90%) surveyed were born in Australia. English was the main language spoken at home (84% of prison entrants, and 81% of dischargees). Australian Indigenous languages were the second most common language, with 8.7% of prison entrants and 9.4% of prison dischargees speaking an Indigenous language at home.