Community Corrections Order (CCO) The Legislation:
A court may make a community correction order in respect of an offender if—
(a) the offender has been convicted or found guilty of an offence punishable by more than 5 penalty units; and
(b) the court has received a pre-sentence report (if required) and has had regard to any recommendations, information or matters identified in the report; and
(c) the offender consents to the order.
s 38 Period and commencement of a community correction order
(1) The period of a community correction order is the period determined by the court which must not exceed—
(a) in the case of an order made by the Magistrates’ Court—
(i) in respect of one offence, 2 years; or
(ii) in respect of 2 offences, 4 years; or
(iii) in respect of 3 or more offences, 5 years; or
(b) in the case of an order made by the County Court or the Supreme Court in respect of one, or more than one, offence, 5 years.
A CCO gives the Court wide sweeping power to address the underlying cause of the offender’s behaviour e.g. drug or alcohol abuse, psychological illness, anger management issues. The CCO was introduced in early 2013 and reflects a change in the Parliament’s attitude to sentencing.
Prior to its introduction there were two types of treatment orders available – Intensive Corrections Orders (‘ICOs’) and Community Based Orders (‘CBOs’). CCOs have replaced both these orders and offer a degree of flexibility to address the Court’s concerns in relation to the offender.
There are three main components of a CCO:
- Treatment and rehabilitation;
- Supervision; and
- Unpaid community work.
CCO’s are monitored and enforced through the Office of Corrections. An offender on a CCO is assigned a Corrections Case Manager who will refer to him or her to the relevant medical practitioners/agencies, roster the offender for unpaid community work and supervise the offender during the course of the order.
The treatment aspect is addressed through referrals to medical practitioners, counsellors or education providers (e.g. Drink Driver Awareness Course).
The supervision aspect is addressed through the Case Manager. The offender is required to regularly attend appointments with their Case Manager who will oversee the offender’s progress on the order. The offender is not permitted to leave Victoria during the course of the order without the written consent of the Office of Corrections.
The unpaid community work is the ‘punishment’ aspect of the order.
s 48C Unpaid community work condition
(1) A court which is making a community correction order may attach a condition requiring an offender to perform unpaid community work.
(2) The purpose for attaching an unpaid community work condition is to adequately punish the offender in the community.
(3) Subject to section 48CA, the offender must perform the number of hours of unpaid community work specified by the court under an unpaid community work condition.
The maximum duration of a CCO is two years in the Magistrates’ Court and two years or the maximum penalty of the offence (whichever is greater) in the County Court.
The offender may be in breach if they do not adhere to the conditions of their CCO or if they commit any further offending during the course of the order.
The Court can also order a term of imprisonment to be followed by a CCO.
s 44 Imprisonment and a community correction order
(1) Subject to any specific provision relating to the offence, when sentencing an offender in respect of one, or more than one, offence (other than an offence to which clause 5 of Schedule 1 applies), a court may make a community correction order in addition to imposing a sentence of imprisonment only if the sum of all the terms of imprisonment to be served (after deduction of any period of custody that under section 18 is reckoned to be a period of imprisonment or detention already served) is one year or less.
(1A) Subject to any specific provision relating to the offence, when sentencing an offender in respect of one, or more than one, offence to which clause 5 of Schedule 1 applies, a court may make a community correction order in addition to imposing any sentence of imprisonment.
(1B) In sentencing an offender in accordance with subsection (1) or (1A) in respect of 2 or more offences, the Magistrates’ Court must not impose a sentence that exceeds in the whole 5 years.
(3) If a court makes a community correction order in respect of an offender in addition to imposing a sentence of imprisonment in accordance with this section, the community correction order commences on the release of the offender from imprisonment.
(4) A reference in this section to a sentence of imprisonment does not include a sentence that has been suspended.
The Court is also able to order a work only CCO. In addition to treatment, supervision and unpaid community work, the Court may also order conditions such as: