Community Service Orders (CSOs)
A Community Service Order involves unpaid work in the community at a place specified by Community Corrections. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by a Community Corrections officer as suitable to undertake the order.
Section 88 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 provides that, before making a Community Service Order, the court must be satisfied that community-service work is suitable for the offender and it is appropriate that the offender be required to perform it.
The court may decline to make a Community Service Order if the offender does not undergo a medical examination by a doctor, if such examination is directed by the court.
Section 89 provides that a Pre-Sentence Report (PSR) must be given to the court about the offender’s suitability to serve a sentence (or a part of a sentence) by performing community service.
The court must consider the PSR and any medical report about the offender given to the court, any evidence given by the person who prepared the PSR and any evidence given by a Corrections officer about the offender.
The court must record reasons for its decision to include, or decline to include, a community service condition in a Good Behaviour Order if that decision is counter to the recommendation of the PSR.
Section 90 lists the matters that might lead an offender to be found unsuitable for community service. They are major problems with alcohol or a controlled drug, major psychiatric or psychological disorders, potential unfitness to perform the actual work, a serious criminal record and potential impracticability of regularly reporting for community service.
How Many Hours Will I Have to Work?
Section 91 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 provides that the number of hours of community service work required to be performed for a community service condition in a Good Behaviour Order must be at least 20 hours and not more than 500 hours. For a young offender, the maximum is 200 hours.
If fewer than 250 hours work is required, it must be completed within one year; if 250 or more hours work is required, it must be completed within two years.
The number of hours ordered by the court reflects the seriousness that the Court attached to the offending.
Is A Community Service Order A Conviction and Will I Have A Criminal Record?
Yes. Section 87 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 provides that a good behaviour order with a community service condition can only be imposed if the offender has been convicted of the offence.
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