Under the Sentencing Act imprisonment is not an option unless the offender has shown violent behaviour towards people, is likely to commit another serious offence, has previously been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment, or the offence is so serious that no other punishment would fit the crime.
Parole is the release of a prisoner on certain conditions for the remainder of his/her sentence. If the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, the court will set a non-parole period. A non-parole period is the amount of time the offender must serve before being considered for release on parole. At the end of the non-parole period the Parole Board decides whether an offender will be released on parole. The Board considers the prisoner’s behaviour and prospects of rehabilitation.
Sometimes, as in the case of a very violent crime, a non-parole period is not set and the person must remain in gaol for the entire prison sentence.