Country areas contributing most to prison population
SOUTH Australia's most remote region, Indulkana, has the state's highest incarceration rate, while Port Augusta has the highest number of former residents behind bars.
Corrections Department statistics obtained by The Advertiser show that of the state's 2256 prisoners in mid-May, 92 had their last registered address at Port Augusta.
Seventy previously resided in Murray Bridge, 62 in Adelaide, 59 in Parafield Gardens and 50 in Davoren Park.
As a percentage of prisoners per 1000 population, Indulkana, in the APY Lands, has the highest rate of incarceration, followed by Woodville Gardens, Port Augusta, Davoren Park and Berri.
Adelaide University Advocacy and Justice Unit director David Caruso said the data showed prisoners often came from lower socio-economic areas.
"There are a number of regional areas that are over-represented ... and that should be of concern for correctional services, the justice system and the Government," he said.
"These are regional areas where they have small populations to begin with so the fact that they are approaching the top of the lists in terms of incarceration rates is a concern. One of the most serious things is that there is a very limited number of opportunities for employment, for work, for education and everything that keeps people out of trouble (in these areas).
"When they are not provided, people find other things to occupy their times which aren't always within the law."
Of the prison population, 692 had "null" listed for their address because they are not compelled to provide it.
"I would hazard a guess that many of those would be because they don't have a particular address," Mr Caruso said.
"The concern for the justice system is when you have people who are itinerant - who have no particular location or loyalty - they are also people who are more likely to feel no particular connection with a place, and feel no particular obligation to abide by its rules and laws."
Police and Corrections Minister Michael O'Brien said resources had been directed to areas with higher crime rates.
Neighbourhood Policing Teams are in place in Elizabeth, the South Coast and Western Adelaide policing areas, with plans for a fourth team at Holden Hill.