Community Corrections Orders in Victoria
In Victoria. a community corrections order (CCO) is a sentence that allows a person to be released into the community on certain terms and conditions for a period of time. The court’s power to order a community correction order is outlined in the Sentencing Act 1991. This article deals with community corrections orders in Victoria.
When may a community corrections order be made?
A magistrate or judge may put a person on a community corrections order if:
- the offence for which they are found guilty is punishable by a fine of no more than five penalty units;
- the offender consents to the order; and
- the court has received a pre-sentence report (if required).
Before putting a person on a CCO the court will need to get a pre-sentence report from Corrections Victoria to see if a person is suitable for an order. However, a report is not needed if the order is for less than 300 hours of community service work and that is the only term of the order.
A pre-sentence report may include any of the following information about the person:
- Their age, social, medical and/or psychiatric history and whether you have any special needs.
- Their level of education and your employment history.
- Their financial circumstances, including if you can afford to pay a bond.
- Their drug or alcohol use.
- The circumstances surrounding any other offences on their record.
- The services available that may help to reduce the risk of them offending again in the future, including any courses, treatments or programs that may assist them.
- Whether they are able to do any unpaid work.
- How long any intensive correction period should last.
- Any other information that is relevant.
Length of orders
The Magistrates Court in Victoria can impose an order for up to two years for one offence, up to four years for two offences and up to five years if there are three or more offences.
The County Court and Supreme Court can impose an order for a minimum of two years.
No court can make a CCO for a longer time than the maximum prison term for the particular offence.
If an order is made for more than six months, the court can order that part of the order is an intensive compliance order. A fine or, in certain circumstances, a sentence of imprisonment can be imposed with a CCO. A County or Supreme Court can also order that a person is electronically monitored while on the order.
Terms of a community corrections order
The terms of a CCO may include that the person:
- Does not commit any more offences for so long as the order is in place.
- Reports to Corrections Victoria within two days of the order being made and meets with them regularly after that.
- Let Corrections Victoria know if they change their address.
- Does not leave the state of Victoria unless they have permission from Corrections Victoria.
- Comply with any direction that Corrections Victoria gives to them.
The magistrate will include at least one of these conditions in an order:
- Work up to 600 hours of community service (up to 20 hours every week).
- Agree to receive treatment for drug or alcohol use.
- Accept the supervision or management of Corrections Victoria.
- Stay away from a particular person.
- Stay away from a particular place.
- Obey a curfew.
- Stay away from licensed places.
- Return to court so the magistrate can check your progress.
- Pay a bond.
- Any other order that the magistrate thinks is appropriate.
An application can be made to vary the terms and conditions of an order under certain circumstances.
Breaching an order
A person will breach their order if they:
- Do or don’t do something required by the order; or
- Do or don’t do something required of them by their supervising corrections officer; or
- Commit another offence while the order is in place.
It is an offence in Victoria to breach (or contravene) a CCO unless you have a reasonable excuse. If for some reason you cannot comply with one or more of the conditions of your order, you must let Corrections Victoria know immediately. The maximum penalty for contravening a CCO is three months imprisonment. If you have committed another offence while on a CCO and that offence is punishable by a prison sentence, then you will be sent to prison unless there are exceptional circumstances why you should not be.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.