Home detention


Commonwealth (Federal) Courts have the power to impose a sentence of home detention pursuant to section 20AB of the Commonwealth Crimes Act. Home detention is an alternative to full-time prison. The practical effect is the prison sentence is served at your home rather than in a correction centre.

An offender who receives a home detention sentence, will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring.

The maximum term of a home detention order is 18 months. This period is inclusive of any additional time set by the court as part of a recognizance release order.

What the court must do to impose a home detention

Before sentencing an offender to home detention, the court must be satisfied that, having considered all possible alternatives, no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate.

The court then imposes a full time prison sentence and sets a recognizance release order or gives reasons as to why no recognizance release order is given.

At this time your lawyer must request that any prison sentence be served by home detention. If your lawyer is able to satisfy the court that it should do so, the court will adjourn your case so that you can be assessed as to whether you are suitable for a home detention order.

Your suitability for home detention

Section 78 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act states that a home detention order cannot be made unless the court is satisfied that:

  • The offender is a suitable person to serve the sentence by way of home detention;
  • It’s appropriate in all of the circumstances that the sentence be served by way of home detention;
  • The persons with whom it is likely the offender would reside, or continue or resume a relationship, during the period of the offender’s home detention have consented in writing, in the form prescribed by the regulations, to the making of the order; and
  • The offender has signed an undertaking, in the form prescribed by the regulations, to comply with the offender’s obligations under the home detention order.

Home detention is not available for certain offences

Home detention is not available for the following offences:

  • murder, attempted murder or manslaughter,
  • sexual assault of adults or children or sexual offences involving children,
  • armed robbery,
  • any offence involving the use of a firearm,
  • assault occasioning actual bodily harm (or any more serious assault, such as malicious wounding or assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm),
  • an offence under section 562AB of the Crimes Act 1900 of stalking or intimidating a person with the intention of causing the person to fear personal injury,
  • a domestic violence offence against any person with whom it is likely the offender would reside, or continue or resume a relationship, if a home detention order were made,
  • an offence under ss 23(2), 24(2), 25(2), 26, 27 or 28 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 involving a commercial quantity of a prohibited plant or prohibited drug within the meaning of that Act.

Home detention is not available for offenders with a certain criminal history

A home detention order cannot be made for an offender who has at any time been convicted of any of the following offences:

  • murder, attempted murder or manslaughter,
  • sexual assault of adults or children or sexual offences involving children,
  • an offence under section 562AB of the Crimes Act 1900 of stalking or intimidating a person with the intention of causing the person to fear personal injury,
  • a domestic violence offence (during the last 5 years) against any person with whom it is likely the offender would reside, or continue or resume a relationship, if a home detention order were made,
  • any offence prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph, or
  • who is (or has at any time within the last 5 years been) subject to an apprehended violence order (within the meaning of Part 15A of the Crimes Act 1900) made for the protection of a person with whom it is likely the offender would reside, or continue or resume a relationship, if a home detention order were made

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