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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 11 - Crime and justice >> Most serious offence

MOST SERIOUS OFFENCE

At 30 June 2004, almost half (47%) of all sentenced prisoners were convicted with a most serious offence involving violence or the threat of violence, including homicide and related offences (10%), sexual assault and related offences (11%), acts intended to cause injury (assault) (14%) and robbery/extortion (12%) (table 11.43). A further 13% of sentenced prisoners had a most serious offence of unlawful entry with intent, and 10% were serving sentences for a most serious offence involving illicit drugs.

11.43 SENTENCED PRISONERS, By most serious offence - 30 June 2004

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

Homicide and related offences
619
368
484
126
221
49
54
-
12
12
1,921
Acts intended to cause injury
1,152
217
614
61
322
69
190
15
11
26
2,640
Sexual assault and related offences
593
362
627
121
359
58
61
n.p.
n.p.
18
2,182
Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
53
29
97
n.p.
98
9
15
n.p.
n.p.
5
307
Abduction and related offences
64
28
8
n.p.
14
-
3
n.p.
-
n.p.
121
Robbery, extortion and related offences
930
357
527
113
397
28
14
n.p.
n.p.
19
2,367
Unlawful entry with intent
900
388
471
139
415
56
58
7
12
19
2,434
Theft and related offences
460
340
154
38
180
22
18
15
12
27
1,227
Deception and related offences
238
103
192
64
53
15
6
n.p.
n.p.
5
674
Illicit drug offences
877
350
370
76
211
12
20
9
5
14
1,925
Weapons and explosive offences
66
13
5
4
5
6
n.p.
n.p.
-
n.p.
104
Property damage and environmental pollution
57
35
56
54
22
13
n.p.
n.p.
n.p.
n.p.
250
Public order offences
61
30
6
n.p.
24
n.p.
-
-
n.p.
n.p.
124
Road traffic and motor vehicle regulatory offences
558
105
132
21
144
13
86
14
3
17
1,073
Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
797
266
126
144
160
24
37
8
23
31
1,562
Miscellaneous offences
33
19
210
n.p.
43
n.p.
11
3
-
3
325
Total
7,458
3,010
4,079
970
2,668
379
587
85
118
203
19,236

(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, 2004 (4517.0).


There were differences in the types of most serious offence for which men and women were imprisoned. The highest proportion of most serious offences for males in prison at 30 June 2004 involved acts intended to cause injury (14%), unlawful entry with intent (13%), robbery/extortion (12%), and sexual assault (12%). Illicit drug offences (15%), deception offences (13%) and acts intended to cause injury (12%) were the most frequent most serious offences for females (graph 11.44).

Graph 11.44: SENTENCED PRISONERS, By selected most serious offence - 30 June 2004


SENTENCE LENGTH

Aggregate length of sentence is a measure of the sentences imposed on an offender, sometimes taking multiple offences into account. Average sentence length excludes prisoners who receive an indeterminate type of sentence such as 'life' as well as periodic detainee sentences. At 30 June 2004 the average aggregate sentence of all prisoners sentenced to a specific term was 4.9 years (graph 11.45). Nearly one in four sentenced prisoners (23%) had an aggregate sentence of 2-5 years, and prisoners with a sentence of 5-10 years comprised 22% of the prisoner population.

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 2004 was 3.5 years.

Graph 11.45: SENTENCED PRISONERS, By average sentence length - 30 June 2004


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