Prison sentences



Australia's emerging incarceration crisis: proposed reforms of the Australian sentencing system

This report examines the gulf between sentencing knowledge and practice, and makes recommendations regarding the measures that need to be undertaken to bridge that gap, so that law-makers can bring sentencing practice in line with current knowledge and make it fairer and more efficient.
Discussion paper

Double jeopardy: the economic and social costs of keeping women behind bars

This paper provides a foundational framework outlining the clear need to reform the imprisonment of women in Australia. It seeks to highlight the key issues and emphasise the urgent need to reduce rates of female imprisonment through a nationally consistent approach.

Long-term sentencing trends in Victoria

This report reviews 20 years of data in the Council's 'Sentencing Snapshots' to identify changes in sentencing practices in the higher courts for a select number of offences.

Australia's prison dilemma: research paper

Australia is putting more people in prison, despite a fall in the number of criminal offenders. This paper looks at what is driving these trends, the costs on society and whether there are alternatives to prison that still keep the community safe, but at a...
Discussion paper

Leaving custody behind: foundations for safer communities and gender-informed criminal justice systems - issues paper

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the rising rates of women’s incarceration in Victoria and to build foundations for an alternative trajectory.

Monitoring places of detention

This document reports on the activities of the New Zealand National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) during the period 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019. The NPM is a robust system to examine, and where appropriate make recommendations to improve, the care and treatment of people...

No place for a child: alternatives to imprisoning children in Cambodia

From July to October 2020, This Life conducted extensive research into the current status of the implementation of the Cambodian Law on Juvenile Justice. This document summarises the main findings of this research, noting that Cambodia has made slow, but significant, advances in juvenile justice...

The state of the incarceration nation

This report was prepared for the Justice Reform Initiative, which is a collaboration of some of Australia’s most respected experts on criminal justice. The report looks at the dimensions of the nation's rising prison population, the key drivers of that growth and the communities most...

Keeping communities at the centre of Justice Reinvestment

Justice Reinvestment programmes take many forms, but most share a simple aim - to redirect spending on criminal justice into social justice initiatives that strengthen communities and reduce social harms, including offending behaviours. This report explores the potential of Justice Reinvestment as an alternative to...
Working paper

A tale of two risks: risk assessments and treatment of two dangerous long-term New Zealand detainees

This paper compares two cases of long-term detention on the basis of claimed risks to public safety in New Zealand, a common law jurisdiction. It considers whether either of the men or both are reliably or adequately shown to be dangerous, given difficulties in risk...

Time served prison sentences in Victoria

A 'time served prison sentence' is a sentence of imprisonment imposed on an offender where the length of imprisonment is equal to the amount of time that the offender has spent on remand in custody. This report analyses the proportion of prison sentences that were...

Changes to sentencing law in Victoria: an overview of 2018

This overview summarises 10 key legislative changes to sentencing law in Victoria from 2018, including the introduction of standard sentences, Category A and B serious youth offences and youth control orders. It also looks at two judicial decisions that will affect the way that sentencing...
Draft report

Inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism: draft report

In September 2018, the Queensland government directed the Queensland Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism. This report summarises the commission's early findings and nominates areas where further information is sought.

Report on Government Services 2019 Justice: Chapter 8 - Corrective services

This chapter reports on prison custody and a range of community corrections orders and programs for adult offenders which are delivered separately by the eight states and territories.
Discussion paper

Imprisonment and recidivism: issues paper

The Queensland government has asked the Commission to undertake an inquiry to determine how government resources and policies may be best used to reduce imprisonment and recidivism to improve outcomes for the community.
Journal article

The Domestic Violence Protection Order system as entry to the criminal justice system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

This research shows that a disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people are named on DVOs, charged with contraventions of DVOs and significantly more likely than non-Indigenous people to receive a sentence of imprisonment for a contravention of a DVO, compared to...
Briefing paper

Serious Offenders Bill 2018

The Serious Offenders Bill 2018 was introduced to the Victorian Legislative Assembly on 8 May 2018. It seeks to establish a civil, protective scheme under which offenders who have served custodial sentences for certain serious sexual and/or violent offences, and who present an unacceptable risk...
Discussion paper

Sentencing for criminal offences arising from the death of a child: consultation paper

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has been asked to review the penalties imposed on sentence for criminal offences arising from the death of a child (child homicide). This paper briefly describes the context of the review, and provides information about child homicide and relevant offences...

How to reverse Australia's remand explosion

Burgeoning numbers of untried prisoners are fuelling an unsustainable rise in Australia’s prison population. Only a shift in resources will bring the figure down, writes Rick Sarre.

Using evidence to build a better justice system: The challenge of rising prison costs

This paper explores the drivers of the continued growth of the New Zealand prison population, including consideration of crime rates, remand, sentencing and parole practices.

Pathways to justice – an inquiry into the incarceration rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: final report

This report contains thirty-five recommendations designed to reduce the disproportionate rate of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and improve community safety.

Theft: sentencing outcomes in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

This resource provides a statistical overview of five kinds of theft offences sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria between 2012–13 and 2016–17.
Discussion paper

A Sentencing Guidelines Council for Victoria: issues paper

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released this issues paper and an online survey, seeking stakeholder and community views on the creation of a Sentencing Guidelines Council in Victoria.

NSW Custody Statistics quarterly update September 2017

Presents 24 months of reception, discharge and custody population data for prisons in New South Wales.

Is Victoria’s sentencing regime really more lenient?

An overriding focus on increasing sentences may not necessarily be the best means of redressing the harm caused by sex offences, writes Lorana Bartels.