Periodic Detention

As of the 1st of October 2010, periodic detention no longer exists as a penalty in NSW. 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 referred to periodic detention as weekend detention, when periodic detention was available as a sentencing option detention could occur mid week. The two-day period commenced at 7.00 pm on the day of the week specified (usually a Friday) and ended at 4.30 pm on the second day following the day so specified (usually a Sunday).

Before a court imposed a sentence of periodic detention it must have satisfied itself that no other penalty other than imprisonment was appropriate. If the court did impose a sentence of periodic detention it would have likely set a period in which the individual may be released on parole.

A periodic detention order must not have been made for longer than 3 years. If the court imposed 2 sentences of periodic detention then the combined period could not have exceed 3 years.

When a Court Cannot Impose a Sentence of Periodic Detention

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 New South Wales or elsewhere;
  • An offender is sentenced to imprisonment for more than three years;
  • A sentence of imprisonment has been imposed for a “prescribed sexual offence”;
  • A “prescribed sexual offence”.

Suitability of Offender for Periodic Detention

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, for the purpose of serving the sentence by way of periodic detention, being 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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