Penalties in NSW – Intensive Correction Orders


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On 24 September 2018, broadened intensive correction orders replaced suspended sentences, home detention and existing intensive correction orders in New South Wales.

An intensive correction order is an alternative to imprisonment, and can only be imposed after a court has determined that a prison sentence is appropriate.

Who is eligible for an intensive correction order?

There are certain rules a court must follow before imposing an intensive correction order.

The two year rule:

A court can only make an intensive correction order where it has imposed a prison terms of two years or less.

However, ICOs totally up to three years can be made where a person is being sentenced for multiple offences, each of which attracted prison terms of two year or less.

Community safety:

The ‘paramount consideration’ when deciding whether to impose an ICO is ‘community safety’, and a court must assess whether an ICO would be more likely to address the defendant’s risk of reoffending than full-time imprisonment.

Prescribed offences:

A court cannot impose an ICO for the following offences:

  • Murder or manslaughter,
  • Any ‘prescribed sexual offence’, which includes any sexual offence committed against a person under 16, or which includes an element of sexual intercourse, or any child pornography or child abuse material offence,
  • Any terrorism offence,
  • Any contravention of a serious crime prevention order or public safety order,
  • Any offence involving the discharge of a firearm, or
  • Any offences that includes an intention, attempt, conspiracy or incitement to commit any of the above offences.

Assessment report:

A court must order an assessment report before making an ICO.

The court must have regard to the contents of the report, but is not bound by it.