3.1 Overview

This section counts the number of "starts" and "ends" of prison-sentenced episodes in the last year, given in the context of previous 12-month periods back to 1980-81. Prison starts and ends counted here are similar to the usual counts of receptions and releases, but differ in certain ways. In particular, prison sentence episodes of zero duration (i.e., the sentence episode starts and finishes on the same day) are included. Such zero duration episodes can come about when time spent by an offender in custodial remand exceeds the sentence days to serve. Under these circumstances the offender is released immediately, however the offender is still counted as having started a prison sentenced episode. Further, under pre-October 2007 legislation, some offenders with deferred sentence commencement dates were granted release on home detention by the Parole Board, effective immediately, thus avoiding time in prison. Technically, however, such cases constituted a sentence of imprisonment (though with leave to apply for home detention).