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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Contents >> Crime and justice >> Most serious offence

At 30 June 2003 almost half (47%) of all sentenced prisoners were convicted with a most serious offence involving violence or the threat of violence, including homicide (10%), sexual assault (11%), acts intended to cause injury (assault) and robbery (both 13%) (table 11.39). A further 13% of sentenced prisoners had a most serious offence of UEWI, and 10% were serving sentences for a most serious offence involving illicit drugs.


11.39 SENTENCED PRISONERS, By most serious offence - 30 June 2003

NSW(a)
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT in ACT
ACT in NSW(a)
ACT total
Aust.(b)

Homicide
594
355
502
160
224
49
56
1
11
12
1,941
Acts intended to cause injury
1,086
203
609
73
266
38
208
7
10
17
2,490
Sexual assault and related offences
581
354
631
101
355
44
56
3
14
17
2,125
Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
42
25
76
1
82
-
18
9
-
9
253
Abduction and related offences
63
28
10
4
10
3
4
1
3
4
123
Robbery, extortion and related offences
958
388
579
143
379
28
19
3
17
20
2,497
Unlawful entry with intent
794
430
549
151
367
38
57
5
18
23
2,391
Theft and related offences
487
354
177
53
159
34
17
10
13
23
1,291
Deception and related offences
235
102
174
54
62
9
9
2
5
7
647
Illicit drug offences
856
325
318
86
229
7
19
1
6
7
1,841
Weapons and explosive offences
38
11
9
2
6
-
1
2
-
2
69
Property damage and environmental pollution
39
34
59
9
16
12
9
2
2
4
180
Public order offences
63
21
11
5
14
1
2
1
-
1
118
Road traffic and motor vehicle regulatory offences
553
84
134
18
106
43
90
18
3
21
1,046
Offences against justice procedures, govt. security and govt. operations
632
273
130
120
112
49
32
10
15
25
1,358
Miscellaneous offences
23
81
185
3
60
-
15
1
-
1
368
Total
7,044
3,068
4,153
983
2,447
355
612
76
117
193
18,738

(a) The majority of full-time prisoners sentenced in the ACT are held in NSW prisons.
(b) The ACT in NSW figures are a subset of the NSW figures and are not separately counted in the Australian totals.

Source:Prisoners in Australia, 2003 (4517.0).


There were differences in the types of most serious offence for which men and women were imprisoned. The highest numbers of most serious offences for males in prison at 30 June 2003 involved assault, robbery, UEWI, and sexual assault (graph 11.40). In the case of female prisoners, drug offences, deception offences, robbery and assault were the frequent most serious offences.

Graph 11.40: SENTENCED PRISONERS, By selected most serious offence - 30 June 2003



Sentence length

Aggregate length of sentence is a measure of the sentences imposed on an offender, sometimes taking multiple offences into account. It is not measured for prisoners who receive an indeterminate type of sentence such as 'life'. Periodic detainees' sentences are also measured separately. At 30 June 2003 the average aggregate sentence of all prisoners sentenced to a specific term was 4.9 years (graph 11.41). Nearly one in four sentenced prisoners (23%) had an average aggregate sentence of 2-5 years, with another 22% with a sentence of 5-10 years.

The time a prisoner is expected to serve in custody depends upon the sentence originally handed down, the system of remissions and the forms of parole available. Taking into account the earliest dates for release of sentenced prisoners, the average expected time to serve at 30 June 2003 was 3.2 years.

Graph 11.41: SENTENCED PRISONERS, By average sentence length - 30 June 2003


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