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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.
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.
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.