The ACT government is planning to abolish weekend detention as a way for Canberra criminals to serve time.
The government has announced it will close its Periodic Detention Centre by 2016-17, a move signalling the end of weekend imprisonment throughout Australia.
Periodic detention is designed to keep offenders with good prospects of rehabilitation away from full-time custody because of their age, the nature of their crime, their criminal history or other personal factors.
It aims to help criminals turn their lives around by allowing them to remain in the community throughout the week to work or have the support of their family network.
The inmates are typically taken in on Friday night, stay two nights and are released on Sunday afternoon.
But the government says the use of weekend detention in the territory, which began in 1995, has become outdated. The ACT is the last jurisdiction in the country to employ the practice and some states got rid of it 40 years ago.
NSW was the last state to dump periodic detention in 2010 and Queensland stopped using it as a sentencing option in 1974.
Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury said that instead the government wanted to try to use stronger community sentencing options to divert people away from custody.
''Corrective Services will move away from periodic detention to make way for future alternative options, which may include intensive community correction orders, which will more effectively deliver on our goals of rehabilitation and reduced rates of incarceration,'' he said.
That could see a shift towards community service and other compulsory participation in programs, which Mr Rattenbury said was more effective and better for sentenced offenders.
The government's approach is similar to that taken in NSW in 2010, when ''intensive correction orders'' were introduced to replace periodic detention and keep offenders out of custody.
At the time, the state believed the move would bring about a 10 per cent drop in reoffending rates in six years.
The ACT government has assured staff from the Periodic Detention Centre in Symonston they will keep their jobs with Corrective Services.
Freeing up the weekend detention centre has previously been mooted as a possible solution to the overcrowding problems at Canberra's full-time prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
The 366-bed prison experienced a rapid surge in inmate numbers in the past year.
The pressure has eased since the peak of 340 inmates by October, but the numbers have remained above 300 throughout 2014.
The permanent expansion of the AMC is still some time away and the project is still in its design phase.
It is unclear what the government would do with the empty Symonston centre once periodic detention is ended in 2016-17.
The government's announcement precedes an efficiency review designed to glean savings from Corrective Services, including the AMC and the Periodic Detention Centre.
The review is in its early stages and an initial report is not expected until the end of this year.