National Legal Hotline

1300 636 846

7am to midnight, 7 days

Call our lawyers now or,
have our lawyers call you

Imprisonment In Canberra

A court may only sentence a person to imprisonment in Canberra if it is satisfied after having considered all available alternatives, that no other sentencing order is appropriate. When someone is sentenced to imprisonment in Canberra, this occurs under the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005. 

Sentences Of Imprisonment

Sentences of imprisonment in Canberra can be ordered in three main ways.

The first is where the person remains inside a correctional centre on a full-time basis.

The second is where the sentence is suspended upon entry into Good Behaviour Order. A breach of the good behaviour order, either by further offending or by not abiding by a condition of the order, generally leads to the immediate imposition of the prison sentence. 

The third way a sentence of imprisonment in Canberra can be imposed is by way of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO), which is a prison sentence served in the community. An ICO requires the defendant to undergo a separate assessment. If the person is found suitable and the court imposes an ICO, Corrective Services will subject the person to intensive supervision while living in the community. This may include the accelerated completion of community service, the imposition of curfews and travel restrictions as well as mandatory submission to drug and alcohol testing and compliance with any medical treatment or rehabilitation orders.

When a person is sentenced to imprisonment in Canberra, the court can also impose a combination sentence, where an initial part is served by full-time imprisonment followed by a period of suspension together with other orders, such as good behaviour orders, fines or reparation orders.  

Will I Have A Criminal Record?

If you are sentenced to imprisonment in Canberra, you will have a conviction recorded.


When a person is charged with criminal offences in the ACT, they may be granted bail by the police or by a court. They may also be refused bail and remanded in custody. If a person is refused bail by the police, they must be brought before a court as soon as possible and allowed to apply for bail. If a person does not apply for bail or if bail is refused, they will be held on remand until their matter is finalised or until they are bailed. 

If a person is found guilty of offences after spending a period of time on remand, the court must take into account the time the person has spent in custody when it imposes a sentence. If it imposes a term of imprisonment, it is backdated to the date they came into custody.


When a person is sentenced to imprisonment in Canberra for a period of a year or longer, the court must set a non-parole period. This is the minimum period the person must spend in full-time custody before being eligible to be released.

A court may refuse to set a non-parole period if it is of the view that it would be inappropriate given the nature of the offending and the offender’s antecedents.

If the offender is sentenced to life imprisonment for an offence, the court must not set a non-parole period for any other custodial sentence that is imposed on the offender for another offence. Under Section 66 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act, if an offender is sentenced to a further term of imprisonment while serving a sentence of imprisonment, any non-parole period that was set for the existing sentence is automatically cancelled.

If a sentence of imprisonment is partially suspended, the period for which it is suspended is disregarded for the calculation of any non-parole period.

Any non-parole period set for the primary sentence must not make the prisoner eligible to be released on parole earlier than if the primary sentence had not been imposed.

Youth detention

When a juvenile is sentenced by an ACT court, the court has the option of sentencing them to a period in youth detention. Juvenile offenders who are refused bail are held in youth detention until their matter is finalised or until they are bailed.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

7am to midnight, 7 days

Call our lawyers NOW or, have our lawyers CALL YOU

1300 636 846

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
7am to midnight, 7 days
Call our Legal Hotline now