Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 47 - Jailing of first offenders

Project No. 47

Commenced: 1973
Withdrawn: 1982

In 1979 a Committee of Inquiry was appointed by Cabinet to consider whether the rate of imprisonment in Western Australia, particularly for non-indictable offences, could be reduced. The report of the Committee of Inquiry was delivered in May 1981. The report contained a number of recommendations including several suggested measures in relation to the jailing of first offenders.

In particular, the Committee of Inquiry recommended that the Courts of Petty Sessions should consider very carefully the use of imprisonment as an option and that, where possible, alternative forms of punishment should be used. In relation to first offenders the Committee of Inquiry recommended that pre-sentence reports should be submitted to the court as a measure aimed at possibly reducing the rate of imprisonment for first offenders.

Terms of Reference

In 1973 the Commission was invited to examine and report on the introduction of legislation to prevent the jailing of first offenders, in matters dealt with at a magistrates court level, for offences which carry a penalty of up to six months jail.


The reference was withdrawn in 1982. It was recommended that the reference be withdrawn in light of the report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Rate of Imprisonment in Western Australia and the report of the Australian Law Reform Commission on the sentencing of federal offenders (ALRC Interim Report No. 15, 1980).

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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