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Imprisonment in Brisbane

Updated on Oct 10, 2022 4 min read 254 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Jun 28, 2022 Updated on Oct 10, 2022 4 min read 254 views

Imprisonment in Brisbane

When an adult is sentenced for criminal offences in Queensland, courts have the power to make a variety of custodial sentencing orders. Queensland courts sentencing adult offenders can impose a term of actual imprisonment, a suspended term of imprisonment or an order that combines prison and probation. Adults are sentenced for criminal offences under the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992. Young people under 18 are sentenced under the Youth Justice Act 1991, which provides different sentencing options. This article outlines the custodial sentences that courts may impose when sentencing adults in Queensland.

Actual imprisonment in Brisbane

When a person is sentenced to “actual” imprisonment, this means serving a sentence in prison. The court must impose a sentence within the parameters of the legislative provisions that govern the offence. The term must be more than the minimum period that applies to the offence and must not exceed the maximum period. A conviction must be recorded when a person is sentenced to imprisonment.

Where would I serve a term of imprisonment in Brisbane?

When an adult is sentenced to actual imprisonment in Brisbane, there are six prisons they may be housed in.

There are four high security adult prisons in Brisbane. These are the Brisbane Correctional Centre and Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre at Wacol, the Arthur Gorrrie Correctional Centre at Darra and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre at Gatton. The Helana Jones Centre is a low security women’s prison located in Albion.

All Queensland prisons are operated by Corrective Services Queensland.

Intensive Correction Orders

When a person is sentenced to less than 12 months of imprisonment in Queensland, the court can make an Intensive Correction Order. This means that the person serves the term in the community under the close supervision of Queensland Corrections and with strict conditions. Offenders are required to report regularly to their supervisor and may also have other conditions imposed, such as taking part in rehabilitation programs and/or counselling or performing community service.

Suspended Sentences

When a person is sentenced to imprisonment in Brisbane for a term of five years or less, the court may order that all or part of the term be suspended for a set period. If, during that time, the offender commits an offence punishable by imprisonment, they will be required to serve the term of imprisonment as well as any further sentence that is imposed.

Indefinite Prison Sentences

When an offender is sentenced for a serious violence or sex offence and the court is of the view that their release would pose a serious danger to the community, it can order the person to be imprisoned indefinitely. This can be done based on their history, health or mental condition as well as the nature and circumstances of the offending and other circumstances.

A court can replace an indefinite prison sentence with an order for imprisonment for a fixed term if satisfied that the person is no longer a serious risk to the community if released.

Imprisonment With Parole

When a court sentences a person to imprisonment in Brisbane, it may set a parole release date or a parole eligibility date, when the prisoner may apply for parole. In some types of matter, the court is required to set a parole eligibility date. 

In a matter where no parole date was set, a prisoner may apply to the Parole Board after they have completed half of the term. However, prisoners who have been sentenced for serious violence offences are required to serve 80% of their sentence or 15 years (whichever is less) before applying for parole.

Combined Prison And Probation Order

Where appropriate, a court can impose a term of imprisonment for up to one year, immediately followed by probation in the community for up to three years.

Mandatory Sentences Of Imprisonment in Brisbane

When a person is sentenced to prison for murder or repeat child sex offences, mandatory sentencing provisions require the court to sentence them to life imprisonment or to an indefinite prison sentence.

Appealing A Sentence 

A person can appeal against a sentence if they consider it to be unreasonably severe. The prosecution can also appeal against a sentence if it considers it is too lenient. The Court of Appeal will then either:

  • dismiss the appeal (so the original sentence remains); or
  • allow the appeal, and increase the sentence, decrease the sentence or vary the sentence.

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

Published in

Jun 28, 2022

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

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.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

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.

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