Canberra does not have one of those shock jock radio talk show hosts. The national capital makes do with a series of quite refined and broadly sensible hosts on local ABC radio. The Canberra Times gives a generally intelligent and non-inflammatory coverage of local events as does the only local television news on WIN.

Perhaps it is no surprise then that politicians who make the laws to do with sentencing criminals and the Supreme Court judges in Canberra who administer them are not under the same pressures to act like law-and-order toughies as in the other states and territories with their tabloid terrors and radio equivalents.

Certainly figures out from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this morning suggest that this is so.

A summary of the sentences handed out by the nation’s higher courts shows that in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory the majority of defendants had a sentence length of less than two years. The proportions ranged from 69% in the Australian Capital Territory to 53% in South Australia.

Sentence lengths in New South Wales were generally longer with 34% of defendants being sentenced to a custodial order of less than two years and 46% being sentenced to 2-5 years. In the Northern Territory just over half (51%) were sentenced to a custodial order of 2-5 years. The median sentence length was longest for defendants sentenced to a custodial order in New South Wales and the Northern Territory (both 36 months) and shortest in the Australian Capital Territory (17 months).