What is a Community Corrections Order?
The article What is a Community Corrections Order? is written by Josh Harris, Lawyer, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.
Josh Harris was admitted to practice in February 2019 after completing a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Before joining Doogue + George, he was an associate at the County Court of Victoria to HH Judge Lyon.
Josh is experienced in indictable crimes such as sexual offences, drug trafficking, and culpable driving. When he was a Senior Associate to the Criminal Reserve List, he was involved in the high level planning, administration, and finalising of all criminal matters listed in the County Court.
A community corrections order (‘CCO’) is a sentencing order that a Judge or Magistrate can impose. It is one step below prison and one step above a fine. It can still be a harsh punishment with stringent conditions placed on you, but it is a much better option than being imprisoned. The purpose of a CCO is to allow people who commit wrong-doing to be both punished and rehabilitated while remaining in the community. Now that suspended sentences are no longer available, the Court will often look to a CCO as an appropriate sentence where imprisonment is not appropriate.
When can a community corrections order be given?
A CCO is available if the offence is punishable by more than 5 penalty units, which is most offending. If after hearing our submissions the Judge or Magistrate thinks a CCO is appropriate, they will order a CCO assessment with a worker from the Department of Corrections. Corrections will conduct a thorough interview and determine your suitability to be placed on a CCO. They will also recommend any conditions that are appropriate. The Judge or Magistrate will then impose a CCO on you so long as you consent.
A CCO can be combined with a fine. A CCO can be combined with a term of imprisonment. The CCO will then begin once you are released.
How long will the order last for?
A CCO can be of various lengths depending on your offending and in which Court:
|3 or more||5 years|
|County or Supreme||1 or more||5 years|
What conditions will I have to comply with?
There are mandatory conditions on every CCO that you must abide by. You must:
- Not commit offences punishable by imprisonment (which is almost all offences);
- Report to and receive visits from Corrections;
- Report to Corrections 2 working days after the order starting;
- Notify corrections of any change of address within 2 working days;
- Not leave Victoria without permission from corrections;
- Comply with any oral or written directions from Corrections.
There are a number of optional conditions that the Judge or Magistrate might consider, such as:
- Supervision by Corrections (almost all orders have this condition)
- Unpaid community work (this cannot be more than 600)
- If this is the sole condition the maximum hours allowed is 300 and the order expires once you have completed your hours.
- Treatment and Rehabilitation (or attendance at a facility for treatment) for:
- Mental Health
- Drug dependency
- Alcohol dependency
- Non-association or location exclusion
- A curfew
- Alcohol exclusion condition (meaning you can’t go to any licensed premises)
- A bond (money that you pay, but forfeit if you fail to comply with the order)
- Judicial Monitoring (the Judge or Magistrate will have you come to regular meetings with them at Court to monitor your progress)
- Electronic Monitoring
As you can see from the long list of conditions above, a CCO can range from simple to very complicated, from lenient to very harsh. It is always a much better option than the alternative, going to prison.