SENTENCE LENGTH AND FINE AMOUNT
This chapter presents statistics about sentence length and fine amount handed down to defendants proven guilty in all criminal courts in Australia for the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013 for all states and territories except the Tasmanian Higher Criminal Courts for which data are not available. Data also exclude defendants sentenced to life and indeterminate imprisonment and therefore numbers do not align with those presented in the other data cubes.
Data presented refer to the principal sentence, which is the most serious sentence type imposed on a defendant, and the length or amount of this principal sentence. To provide a direct relationship between offences and sentences, the principal proven offence is then derived by taking the offence associated with this principal sentence. Where a principal sentence covers more than one offence, the most serious offence is selected.
Data are presented in the tables by mean and median sentence length or amount where:
- mean is the sum of the value of each observation in a dataset divided by the number of observations. This is also known as the arithmetic average.
- median is the middle value in distribution when the values are arranged in ascending or descending order.
The median is considered to be more representative as it is not influenced by outliers (e.g. long sentences handed down to a small number of defendants) which may impact on the mean. Therefore, the median is presented here in the commentary and graphs.
For more detail on principal sentence, principal proven offence, and sentence length and amount, refer to the Explanatory Notes