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Impact of the Standard Non-Parole Period Sentencing Scheme on Sentencing Patterns in New South Wales

NCJ Number
Patrizia Poletti; Hugh Donnelly
Date Published
May 2010
81 pages
This study investigated whether the use of full-time imprisonment has increased, whether the lengths of non-parole periods and head sentences have increased, and whether greater consistency in sentencing has been achieved in New South Wales (NSW).
The findings of this study confirm that the statutory scheme has generally resulted in a greater uniformity of, and consistency in, sentencing outcomes. It also confirms the early claims that there would be an increase in the severity of penalties imposed and the duration of sentences of full-time imprisonment. The study also found significant increases in sentences for offenses with a proportionately low standard non-parole period to maximum penalty ratio. In February 2003, a new standard non-parole period statutory scheme for specified indictable offense was instituted in New South Wales (NSW). The purpose of the statutory scheme was to make sentencing more consistent and transparent. Divided into two parts, part one of the study analyzed the impact of the statutory scheme on sentencing patterns for the standard non-parole period offenses, compared sentences imposed before and after the introduction of the statutory scheme, examined whether there has been an increase in full-time imprisonment rates, examined whether the length of non-parole periods and terms of sentence have increased, and examined whether the stated aim of the statutory scheme of promoting greater consistency in sentencing has been achieved. Part two examined the rate, nature, and outcomes of sentence appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal. The data used for the study was related only to the offenses originally listed in the Table to Div 1A on its commencement in February 2003. Sentencing data were compared for the periods of 2000 to 2003 and 2003 to 2007. Tables, figures, appendixes A-B, bibliography, table of cases and table of statutes