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CJB73

Author Bronwyn Lind and Simon Eyland
Published September 2002
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 73
Subject Prisons and prisoners; Sentencing; Evaluation reports
Keywords prison sentences, non-custodial, prison population

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Summary

Aim

The NSW Parliament’s Select Committee on the Increase in Prisoner Population recommended that prison sentences of six months or less be abolished. In this bulletin the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research estimates the impact on the prison population of abolishing these short sentences.

Abstract

The NSW Parliament’s Select Committee on the Increase in Prisoner Population recommended that prison sentences of six months or less be abolished. It is estimated that, if all those who currently receive sentences of six months or less were instead given non-custodial penalties, the number of new prisoners received in NSW prisons would drop from about 150 per week to about 90 per week, the NSW prison population would be reduced by about 10 per cent, and there would be savings of between $33 million and $47 million per year in the recurrent cost of housing prisoners. About 10 per cent of those currently serving sentences of six months or less are female and about 20 per cent are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. For more than 90 per cent of prisoners serving sentences of six months or less the most serious offence is a theft offence, a breach of justice orders, an assault or a driving/traffic offence.