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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:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • First custodial sentence
  • Ill health, disability or mental illness
  • Accumulation of individual sentences
  • Protective custody
  • Long-term offenders
  • Youth
  • Hardship to family members in exceptional circumstances
  • Self-punishment
  • Parity with co-offender
  • Sentencing for offences committed many years earlier

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