Periodic detention

Periodic detention(commonly known as weekend detention) is a form of imprisonment.

It involves detention in a periodic detention centre for a two day period each week for the length of the sentence set by the court.

Although most people refer to periodic detention as weekend detention, detention can occur mid week. The two-day period commences at 7.00 pm on the day of the week specified (usually Friday) and ends at 4.30 pm on the second day following the day so specified (usually Sunday).

Before a court imposes a periodic detention sentence it must be satisfied that no other penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate. If the court does impose a sentence of periodic detention it is likely to set a period after which you may be released on parole.

A periodic detention order may not be made for longer than three years. If the court imposes two sentences of periodic detention then the combined period cannot exceed three years.

An order for periodic detention may not be made where:

  • An offender has previously served full time imprisonment for more than six months, whether in NSW or elsewhere;
  • An offender is sentenced to imprisonment for more than three years;
  • A sentence of imprisonment has previously been imposed for a “prescribed sexual offence”;
  • The present offence is a “prescribed sexual offence” .

Suitability of offender for periodic detention

A periodic detention order may not be made with respect to an offender’s sentence of imprisonment unless the court is satisfied:

  • that the offender is of or above the age of 18 years, and
  • that the offender is a suitable person to serve the sentence by way of periodic detention, and
  • that it is appropriate in all of the circumstances that the sentence be served by way of periodic detention, and
  • that there is accommodation available at a periodic detention centre for the offender to serve the sentence by way of periodic detention, and
  • that transport arrangements are available for travel by the offender, to and from the periodic detention centre, and the arrangements that will not impose undue inconvenience, strain or hardship on the offender, and
  • that the offender has signed an undertaking to comply with the offender’s obligations under the periodic detention order.


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