Community Corrections Orders: Serving Sentences in the Community with Conditions
Community Corrections Orders (CCOs) have emerged as a flexible alternative to incarceration, allowing offenders to serve their sentences within the community. Community Correction Orders come with a range of conditions designed to address the underlying issues of offenders and reduce the likelihood of reoffending. This article provides an in-depth understanding of Community Corrections Orders and their implications for offenders.
When Community Corrections Orders Can Be Made?
Community Corrections Orders can be issued by Magistrates‘, County, or Supreme courts and are reserved for offenses that warrant more than five penalty units but fall short of necessitating imprisonment. The decision to impose a Community Corrections Order is based on the court’s discretion and requires the offender’s agreement.
Understanding Community Corrections Orders
A Community Corrections Order is a versatile sentencing order that offers offenders the opportunity to stay in the community under specified conditions. The terms of a CCO depend on various factors, including the nature of the offense, the individual needs of the offender, and the severity of the crime. A standard CCO includes essential conditions such as refraining from reoffending and seeking permission before leaving Victoria. Moreover, each CCO must have at least one additional condition tailored to the offender’s risk and needs.
The primary purpose of a Community Corrections Order is to tailor the penalty to fit the offense and the individual circumstances of the offender. Every Community Corrections Order comes with specific terms and conditions that the offender must adhere to. In the higher courts, CCOs can last up to five years. For the Magistrates’ Court, the maximum durations are two years for one offense, four years for two offenses, and five years for three or more offenses.
Standard Conditions that may apply:
- Abstaining from Offenses: Offenders must not commit any additional offenses while the CCO is in effect.
- Reporting to Corrections Victoria: Offenders are required to report to Corrections Victoria within two days of the order and regularly meet with their supervisors thereafter.
- Address Updates: Offenders must inform Corrections Victoria of any changes in their address.
- Residency Restrictions: Offenders may be restricted from leaving Victoria without prior permission.
- Compliance with Directives: Offenders must comply with any directives given by Corrections Victoria.
Additional Conditions that may apply:
In addition to the standard terms, magistrates may impose further conditions that are specifically tailored to the offender’s circumstances. These may include:
- Community Service: Completion of up to 600 hours of community service work, with a maximum of 20 hours per week.
- Treatment Programs: Mandatory participation in drug or alcohol treatment programs.
- Supervision by Corrections Victoria: Accepting supervision or management by Corrections Victoria.
- Restraining Orders: Staying away from certain individuals or locations related to the offense.
- Curfew: Abiding by specific curfew hours.
- Avoiding Licensed Premises: Staying away from licensed venues.
- Progress Reviews: Attending court hearings for progress evaluations.
Before deciding on a Community Corrections Order, the magistrate may request a pre-sentence report from Corrections Victoria to assess the suitability of such an order. This report delves into various aspects of the offender’s life, such as social, medical, and psychiatric history, educational and employment background, financial circumstances, and any history of drug or alcohol use. Additionally, it may recommend relevant courses, treatments, or programs to address underlying issues contributing to the offense.
Courts can impose both imprisonment and a Community Correction Order for one or more offenses, known as a combined order. The CCO takes effect upon the offender’s release from prison, and the maximum term of imprisonment that can be combined with a CCO is one year.
Consequences of Non-Compliance with a Community Corrections Order
Failure to adhere to the terms and conditions of a Community Corrections Order can lead to serious consequences. Breaking the order, unless with a reasonable excuse, is considered an offense and may result in a penalty of up to three months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to 30 penalty units.
Community Correction Orders offer a constructive approach to rehabilitation and reintegration within society for certain offenders. By embracing treatment, supervision, and unpaid community work, these orders strive to address underlying issues and reduce the risk of reoffending. Offenders subject to CCOs must strictly adhere to the specified conditions to successfully complete their sentences while working towards a positive future.
Need assistance with your court? Worried you will be receiving a community corrections order? Being charged with a criminal offence, whether summary or indictable, and pleading guilty can have serious implications on your life. A criminal record and being found guilty can have detrimental repercussions for you.
This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.
Last updated: 22 July 2023 Article by: Halil Gokler