Community Corrections

Contributed by Lorana Bartels and Caroline Doyle and current to September 2018.

As discussed in the Sentencing section, courts can impose a prison sentence or a range of non-custodial penalties (that is, they do not involve custody, or prison). Some of these involve supervision by Community Corrections (which is a part of ACT Corrective Services). Community Corrections supervises community-based orders, including supervised bail (Bail Act 1992 (ACT) s 25(4)(e)), a Good Behaviour Order with a supervision condition (Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 (ACT) s 13(3)(d)), Intensive Correction Order (ICO) (Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 (ACT) s 42(1)(e)) and parole (Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 (ACT) Part 7.4)).

If a person is required by the court to be subject to the supervision of ACT Corrective Services, they are allocated a Community Corrections Officer and required to report at specific times for the length of the order (for example, they might need to report once a week for 6 months). The conditions of the supervision are outlined in the court order, and these form the basis of a rehabilitation plan. The offender is required to obey all reasonable directions of their probation and parole officer to address their offending behaviours. Some requirements of supervision can include providing sample of their breath, oral fluid or urine for drug testing, undertaking a therapeutic or educational program or referral to external treatment providers to address issues such as violence, anger, alcohol and other drug abuse, or mental health treatment (for the core conditions, see Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act s 42 for ICOs, s 86 for Good Behaviour Orders and s 137 for parole orders).

If an offender fails to comply with the conditions of the order and the directions of their Community Corrections Officer, the court or the Sentence Administration Board will be notified. This authority will then decide the outcome of such breaches. The Sentence Administration Board deals with all (alleged) breaches of parole and release on licence (for offenders who have served at least 10 years of a life sentence). Other breaches (eg supervised bail and Good Behaviour Orders) are dealt with by the courts. Breaches of ICOs may go before the sentencing court or the Board, depending on the nature of the breach.

Under s 65 of the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act, if an offender is found to have committed a further imprisonable offence while on an ICO, the sentencing court must, as soon as practicable cancel the offender's ICO and order them to serve all or some of the rest of their sentence in prison, unless it is not in the interests of justice to do so (for example, a minor offence near the end of their sentence). An ICO will also be cancelled if the offender withdraws their consent (s 66).

Community Service

A Community Service Order can be set as a condition of a good behaviour order (see Part 6.2 of the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act) or ICO (see Part 5.3 of the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act). Community service is managed by ACT Corrective Services' Community Service Work Unit.

The Community Service Work Unit organises placements for offenders, completes inductions with offenders including work health and safety and tool use training, liaises with community and work agencies, and monitors the completion of hours. If completion does not occur, the unit breaches offenders.

Types of work may include landscaping, general grounds maintenance, or retail work with charity organisations.

For more information, see Sentencing.

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