A person must not be sentenced to imprisonment unless the court is satisfied that having considered all possible alternatives, no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate.
If you are sentenced to a period of imprisonment you have been convicted of the offence. t will appear on your criminal record.
In sentencing a person to imprisonment, a court will usually impose a ‘non parole period’. And, an additional period in which the offender once released from prison, will be supervised by probation and parole (the parole period). For the non-parole period to be less than three quarters of the head sentence the court is required to make a finding of special circumstances.
Special circumstances can include:
- Drug and alcohol addiction
- First custodial sentence
- Ill health, disability or mental illness
- Accumulation of individual sentences
- Protective custody
- Long-term offenders
- Hardship to family members in exceptional circumstances
- Parity with co-offender
- Sentencing for offences committed many years earlier