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Have NSW criminal courts become more lenient in the past...

Have NSW criminal courts become more lenient in the past 20 years?

A report by BOCSAR (NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research) has looked at whether the NSW Higher and Local Courts have become more lenient across a range of offence categories. Trends from 1994 to 2013 were examined in bail outcomes, the use of imprisonment as a sanction for convicted offenders, and average length of prison sentence imposed for convicted offenders.

The results of the research showed that NSW criminal courts have:

  • become more restrictive in the granting of bail
  • have increased their use of imprisonment for convicted offenders; and
  • have lengthened average prison sentences across many offence types in the past two decades.
‘There is no evidence that the NSW criminal court have become more lenient overall in the past two decades; on the contrary, sentencing has become more severe in many offence categories.’