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Kings Cross

Sample

In 2009, Kings Cross was introduced as a new data collection site. Its data collection activities were rotated on a quarterly basis with the Parramatta collection site. During 2011–12, 325 detainees were interviewed in Kings Cross. The average age of detainees was 32 years and 80 percent were male (see Table 69).

From 2011 to 2012, there was a 32 percent decrease in the number of detainees interviewed (n=193 cf n=132). There was a 28 percent decrease in the number of male detainees interviewed (n=151 cf n=108) and a 43 percent decrease in the number of female detainees interviewed (n=42 cf n=24). In 2011–12, the number of detainees interviewed was consistent with the number interviewed in 2009–10.

From 2011 to 2012, there was no change in the average age of detainees, remaining at 32 years. In 2012, the average age of male detainees increased by one year compared with 2011 (33 years cf 32 years) while the average age of female detainees decreased by two years (31 years cf 33 years).

Offending

In 2011–12, Kings Cross detainees were arrested and charged with a total of 602 charges. Consistent with previous years, the average number of charges per detainee was two. In 2011–12, charges for drug offences were those most frequently recorded, comprising 28 percent of all charges. This was followed by property offences (17%), violent offences (14%), breach offences (9%), disorder offences (8%), drink driving offences (7%) and traffic offences (3%). A further 13 percent of charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 70). This distribution of charges is comparable with the 2009–10 collection period.

To facilitate comparison between detainees, each detainee is categorised by the most serious offence for which they are being held under charge at the time of interview. In 2011–12, 26 percent of Kings Cross detainees were classified as drug offenders (a decrease of 4 percentage points from 2009–10), 20 percent as violent offenders, 17 percent as property offenders, 14 percent as drink driving offenders, 10 percent as disorder offenders, eight percent as breach offenders and none as traffic offenders. A further five percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 70).

From 2011 to 2012, there was a four percentage point increase in violent offenders (18% cf 22%) and a four percentage point decrease in breach offenders (10% cf 6%).

By gender and most serious offence classification, almost one-quarter of male detainees were categorised in 2011–12 as drug offenders (23%), followed by violent offenders (21%), property offenders (18%), drink driving offenders (13%) and disorder offenders (12%). Female detainees were categorised as drug offenders (38%), property offenders (17%), drink driving offenders (17%), violent offenders (15%), breach offenders (7%) and disorder offenders (2%). In 2011–12, there was a seven percentage point increase in females in custody for violent offences compared with the 2009–10 collection period (8%). There was also a five percentage point increase in females in custody for drug offences (33% in 2009–10) and a six percentage point decrease in females in custody for property offences (23% in 2009–10).

Prior criminal justice contact

In 2011–12, approximately two out of every five Kings Cross detainees reported that the current episode of contact with police was not an isolated incident—35 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the 12 months prior to interview (see Table 71). In 2011, well over one-third of detainees (37%) reported an arrest in the 12 months prior to interview compared with 32 percent of detainees in 2012. In 2011–12, the percentage of detainees who reported a prior history of police contact was relatively stable when compared with earlier years (37% in 2009–10). Male detainees were slightly more likely than female detainees to have been recidivist offenders (35% cf 32%).

In 2011–12, 15 percent of detainees in Kings Cross reported having spent time in prison in the 12 months prior to interview (see Table 71), a figure comparable with that recorded in the 2009–10 collection period. Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to report a recent prison history (18% cf 14%). In 2011, 16 percent of detainees reported having been in prison in the 12 months prior to interview compared with 12 percent recorded in 2012.

Education, housing and employment

In 2011–12, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained for almost one-third (30%) of Kings Cross detainees (see Table 72). This constitutes an eight percentage point decrease since 2009–10 (38%). Over half of detainees had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (56%)—results that were consistent between 2011 and 2012. In 2011–12, females were more likely than males to have attained only Year 10 or less as their highest level of education (44% cf 26%), compared with 2009–10, when 38 percent of both males and females had attained only Year 10 or less as their highest level of education.

In 2011–12, the majority of Kings Cross detainees (82%) reported residing in stable accommodation, which was owned or rented, either from a private owner or social housing, by them (44%) or someone else (38%). A small number of detainees (8%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 72). The housing and accommodation status of detainees was consistent from 2011 to 2012 and comparable with 2009–10.

In 2011–12, just over a third of detainees (37%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while 41 detainees (13%) reported being in part-time employment (see Table 72). The remaining 163 detainees (50%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 18 percent were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (n=60);
  • 15 percent were looking for work (n=50); and
  • 12 percent were not looking for work (n=38).

From 2011 to 2012, the most notable changes were a seven percentage point increase in detainees who were unable to work due to disability (12% cf 19%), a five percentage point decrease in the number of detainees working full-time (39% cf 34%) and a five percentage point decrease of those who were unemployed and looking for work (18% cf 13%). In 2011–12, the percentage of detainees who worked full-time increased slightly compared with 2009–10 (37% cf 32%). Low cell sizes may partially account for the variation observed across collection periods.

By gender, male detainees were more likely than female detainees to be employed full-time or part-time (52% cf 43%). Female detainees were more likely than males to be unemployed and not looking for work (17% cf 10%) or not working because of their role as a full-time homemaker (8% cf <1%). Caution should be taken when interpreting gender comparisons due to the overrepresentation of males in the sample.

From 2011 to 2012, there were substantial changes in the employment status of female detainees. There was a 21 percentage point decrease in female detainees working full-time or part-time (50% cf 29%), a three percentage point increase in those unemployed and looking for work (14% cf 17%) and a 24 percentage point increase in the number of female detainees who reported being unable to work due to disability (5% cf 29%). From 2011 to 2012, no substantial differences were found in the employment status of male detainees.

Drug use

Urinalysis screening was conducted for five drug classes—amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates—and secondary screening tests were conducted for the opiate pharmacotherapy substances methadone and buprenorphine. In addition, confirmatory analysis was conducted for samples testing positive to amphetamines and opiates (not including pharmacotherapies). Opiates were then classified as either heroin or other opiates (including prescription opiates). Amphetamines were classified as methamphetamine, MDMA, or other amphetamines (including prescription amphetamines). In the 2011–12 collection period, the rate of urine collection was lower compared with earlier collection periods; urine samples were collected for all four data collection quarters in 2011 and one out of the four data collection quarters in 2012.

Of the 181 detainees who provided a urine sample, 67 percent tested positive to at least one drug type. This was four percentage points lower than the percentage of urine samples testing positive to any drug in 2009–10 (71%). In 2011–12, the drug most commonly detected was opiates (35%; including 23% heroin, 16% methadone and 9% buprenorphine—detainees can test positive to more than one substance), followed by cannabis (32%), amphetamines (31%; including 27% methamphetamine and 2% MDMA—detainees can test positive to more than one substance) and benzodiazepines (31%). In 2011–12, 15 detainees tested positive to cocaine (8%; see Table 73). Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to test positive to amphetamines (35% cf 30%), opiates (53% cf 31%), cannabis (35% cf 31%) and benzodiazepines (44% cf 28%).

Compared with the 2009–10 collection, in 2011–12 there was a five percentage point decrease in heroin use (28% cf 23%) and a seven percentage point increase in amphetamine use (24% cf 31%). From 2011 to 2012, there was a nine percentage point increase in the rate of positive tests for any drug at Kings Cross (65% cf 74%), which was primarily driven by a substantial increase in the use of heroin and amphetamines in 2012. There was a 14 percentage point increase in amphetamines use (26% cf 40%) and a 12 percentage point increase in the use of heroin (19% cf 32%). From 2011 to 2012, the test positive rates for cannabis (31% cf 33%), benzodiazepines (31% cf 30%) and buprenorphine (9% cf 11%) stayed relatively stable.

Self-reported alcohol use

Alcohol use among detainees cannot be reliably tested using urinalysis. Instead, the DUMA survey relies on a range of questions regarding recent and lifetime alcohol use, including whether the detainee had consumed alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest. In 2011–12, 58 percent of Kings Cross detainees had been drinking in the 48 hours prior to their arrest (see Table 74). From 2011 to 2012, there was a slight increase of three percentage points in detainees reporting alcohol use in the 48 hours prior to arrest (57% cf 60%).

Alcohol consumption patterns

In 2011–12, 69 percent of detainees reported consuming at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days prior to their arrest (see Table 74). On the last occasion of drinking, 26 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, 13 percent had consumed wine only and 30 percent had consumed spirits only, with the remaining 31 percent reporting having consumed at least two types of alcohol (referred to in the discussion below as mixed drinks) on the last occasion.

By quantity, the average number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion was 19, an increase in the reported average number of drinks since 2009–10 (12 standard drinks). Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of seven standard drinks, wine-only drinkers consumed an average of 19 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed an average of nine standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 28 standard drinks (up from an average of 18 standard drinks in 2009–10). Although these figures are high, it is important to note that the length of time spent drinking on the last occasion would have varied from person to person and in some cases would have involved drinking sessions that lasted more than one day.

In 2011–12, two out of five female detainees who had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days had consumed spirits only on the last occasion of drinking (40% cf 28% for males), whereas one in three males had consumed beer only (30% cf 10% for females). The quantity of alcohol consumed on the last occasion was, on average, higher among males than females across all alcohol types (see Table 74).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2011–12, 33 Kings Cross detainees reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 18 percent of those who had used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months and is four percentage points lower than in 2009–10 (22%). Treatment options include support groups, counselling and pharmacotherapy. A further 39 detainees (21%) had previously been in a treatment program but were no longer in treatment at the time of their arrest. Of those currently in treatment, 21 percent (n=7) had been referred by the courts or police. The remaining 78 percent (n=25) were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 75). From 2011 to 2012, levels of access to treatment remained consistent.

Detainees were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or any other mental health-related issue (ie not just in the previous 12 months). In 2011–12, 78 Kings Cross detainees (40%) reported having been diagnosed with a mental health-related issue (see Table 76), which was six percentage points higher than in 2009–10 (34%). Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to report a mental health diagnosis (61% cf 35%).

Linking drugs and crime

The link between drugs and crime is measured in the DUMA study using a range of indicators, including the extent to which drug use varied between offenders of different offence types and the extent to which an offender reports that drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor in their most recent offending.

Of the 164 respondents who provided a urine sample, 68 percent tested positive to at least one type of drug (see Table 77). The prevalence of recent drug use varied by most serious offence type, with drug offenders most likely to test positive to at least one drug type (93%, n=38). Test positive rates for other offence classifications were:

  • 87 percent for breach offenders (n=13);
  • 85 percent for property offenders (n=23); and
  • 59 percent for violent offenders (n=19).

Caution should be exercised when making comparisons between offending categories and across collection periods, due to the presence of small cell sizes. In addition, in 2012, substantial changes were made to the DUMA methodology in regards to urine collection, limiting comparability of findings with previous collection periods.

DUMA detainees are asked specific questions to identify the relationship between substance use and the commission of the offence(s) for which they are held in custody at the time of interview. In 2011–12, over three in five detainees (63%) reported that substance use contributed to their current offending. By most serious offence, those detained on a drink driving offence had the highest level of combined drug/alcohol attribution (95%, n=39). Proportionally, this was followed by:

  • 68 percent for disorder offenders (n=19);
  • 62 percent for drug offenders (n=47);
  • 62 percent for violent offenders (n=36); and
  • 57 percent for property offenders (n=29).

Alcohol was more likely than drug use to be identified as a contributing factor by violent, drink driving, disorder and breach offenders, whereas drug use was more likely than alcohol to be implicated by property and drug offenders (see Table 77).

Table 69 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Age (yrs)
18–20 33 13 5 8 38 12
21–25 50 19 15 23 65 20
26–30 50 19 10 15 60 18
31–35 42 16 10 15 52 16
36+ 84 32 26 39 110 34
Total 259 66 325
Min/max age 18/67 18/56 18/67
Mean age (median) 32(30) 32(32) 32(31)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 70 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by offence and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
Charges Detainees most serious offence Charges Detainees most serious offence Charges Detainees most serious offence
Charges recorded n % n % n % n % n % n %
Violent 72 15 49 21 10 9 9 15 82 14 58 20
Property 81 17 41 18 24 21 10 17 105 17 51 17
Drug 135 28 53 23 36 32 23 38 171 28 76 26
Drink driving 32 7 31 13 10 9 10 17 42 7 41 14
Traffic 11 2 1 0 5 4 0 0 16 3 1 0
Disorder 46 9 27 12 4 4 1 2 50 8 28 10
Breach 46 9 19 8 9 8 4 7 55 9 23 8
Other 67 14 13 6 14 13 3 5 81 13 16 5
Total 490 234 112 60 602 294

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 71 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 56 35 12 32 68 35
No 102 65 26 68 128 65
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 22 14 7 18 29 15
No 138 86 31 82 169 85

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 72 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Education
Year 10 or less 67 26 29 44 96 30
Year 11 or 12 38 15 8 12 46 14
TAFE/university not completed 59 23 7 11 66 20
Completed TAFE 50 19 11 17 61 19
Completed university 45 17 11 17 56 17
Total 259 66 325
Housing
Owned or rented by self 108 42 34 52 142 44
Someone else’s place 105 41 20 30 125 38
Shelter or emergency 3 1 1 2 4 1
Incarceration facility/halfway house 4 2 0 0 4 1
Treatment facility 6 2 1 2 7 2
No fixed residence 16 6 6 9 22 7
Other 17 7 4 6 21 6
Total 259 66 325
Employment
Full-time 100 39 21 32 121 37
Part-time 34 13 7 11 41 13
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 50 19 10 15 60 18
Looking for work 40 15 10 15 50 15
Not looking for work 27 10 11 17 38 12
Full-time homemakers 1 0 5 8 6 2
Retired or studying 7 3 2 3 9 3
Total 259 66 325

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 73 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Provided urinea
Yes 147 70 34 61 181 68
No 62 30 22 39 84 32
Test results
Cannabis 46 31 12 35 58 32
Cocaine 9 6 6 18 15 8
Amphetaminesb 44 30 12 35 56 31
Methamphetamine 37 25 11 32 48 27
MDMA 3 2 1 3 4 2
Other amphetamines 4 3 0 0 4 2
Opiatesc 45 31 18 53 63 35
Heroin 31 21 11 32 42 23
Methadone 19 13 10 29 29 16
Buprenorphine 12 8 4 12 16 9
Other opiates 4 3 2 6 6 3
Benzodiazepines 41 28 15 44 56 31
Any drug 97 66 25 74 122 67
Any drug other than cannabis 80 54 23 68 103 57
Multiple drugs 56 38 18 53 74 41

a: Percentages have been calculated for the quarters in which urine samples were requested, which in 2011 was all 4 quarters and in 2012 was 2 out of 4 quarters

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 74 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2011–12
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 155 60 34 52 189 58
Past 30 days 177 69 48 73 225 69
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasion
Beer only 53 30 5 10 58 26
Wine only 15 8 14 29 29 13
Spirits only 49 28 19 40 68 30
Mixed drinksb 61 34 10 21 71 31
Male Female Total
n mean (median) n mean (median) n mean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)
Beer only 52 7(5) 5 4(5) 57 7(5)
Wine only 15 21(17) 14 16(15) 29 19(17)
Spirits only 48 10(8) 19 7(3) 67 9(6)
Mixed drinksb 61 29(25) 10 27(18) 71 28(24)

a: Only if consumed alcohol in the past 30 days

b: ‘Mixed drinks’ refers to consuming more than one type of alcohol

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 75 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2011–12a,b
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Treatment
Never been in treatment 91 64 19 49 110 60
Been in, but not currently in treatment 30 21 9 23 39 21
Currently in treatment 22 15 11 28 33 18
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 2 10 1 9 3 9
Court diversion scheme 0 0 2 18 2 6
Police diversion scheme 2 10 0 0 2 6
Other legal order 0 0 0 0 0 0
Otherc 17 81 8 73 25 78

a: Treatment options include detoxification, rehabilitation program/therapeutic community, outpatient/counselling services, support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous etc), methadone maintenance, naltrexone, buprenorphine and general practitioners

b: Only of those who had used drugs or alcohol in the past 12 months

c: ‘Other’ refers to ‘referral from general practitioner or health professional’ and ‘self-referral’

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 76 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by mental health and gender, 2011–12a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health-related issueb
Yes 55 35 23 61 78 40
No 103 65 15 39 118 60

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Includes developmental, somatoform, dissociative, sexual or gender identity, paraphilia, eating or adjustment disorders

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Table 77 Kings Cross DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2011–12a
Violent Property Drug Drink driving Traffic Disorder Breach Other Total
n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n %
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 10 31 9 33 16 39 0 0 0 0 5 24 7 47 4 36 51 31
Cocaine 3 9 1 4 4 10 2 12 0 0 0 0 2 13 1 9 13 8
Amphetaminesb 11 34 12 44 19 46 1 6 0 0 1 5 5 33 3 27 52 32
Opiatesc 9 28 14 52 27 66 1 6 0 0 2 10 7 47 2 18 62 38
Benzodiazepines 6 19 16 59 19 46 1 6 0 0 2 10 5 33 5 45 54 33
(Any drug) 19 59 23 85 38 93 4 24 0 0 8 38 13 87 7 64 112 68
(Any drug other than cannabis) 14 44 21 78 36 88 4 24 0 0 4 19 12 80 7 64 98 60
(Multiple drugs) 10 31 15 56 29 71 1 6 0 0 1 5 10 67 5 45 71 43
(Total urine samples) 32 27 41 17 0 21 15 11 164
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond
Alcohol 24 41 5 10 16 21 39 95 0 0 19 68 7 29 4 25 114 39
Other drugs 17 29 28 55 40 53 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 21 4 25 94 32
Any attribution 36 62 29 57 47 62 39 95 0 0 19 68 9 38 7 44 186 63
(Total detainees interviewed) 58 51 76 41 1 28 24 16 295

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

d: Missing data excluded from analysis

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Figure 18 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Kings Cross, 2009–2012

Figure 18 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Kings Cross, 2009–2012

Note: Data was not collected at this site during quarters 2 and 4 of 2009–11 and quarters 2–4 of 2012

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]

Figure 19 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Kings Cross, 2009–2012

Figure 19 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Kings Cross, 2009–2012

Note: Data was not collected at this site during quarters 2 and 4 of 2009–11 and quarters 2–4 of 2012

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2012 [computer file]