Community Corrections Order (CCO)
Community service orders (CSOs) were abolished in New South Wales in 2018. CSOs have now been replaced by Community Corrections Orders (CCOs). This page deals with community corrections orders in New South Wales.
What is a community corrections order?
Community corrections orders are governed by section 8 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 and are designed to be a more flexible non-custodial sentence than CSOs were. CCOs may be made for a period of up to three years. They are subject to the conditions that the person does not commit a further offence and will attend court if called upon to do so.
Under section 89 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, a CCO may also have the any of the following additional conditions attached to it:
- to abide by a curfew
- to perform a specified number of hours of community service work
- to participate in a rehabilitation program
- to abstain from alcohol and drugs
- not to associate with particular persons
- not to frequent particular places
- to submit to supervision by a community corrections officer or by a juvenile justice officer if the offender is under 18
A person will only be placed on a CCO with a condition that they perform community service work if they have been assessed by a community corrections officer as suitable for such a condition.
How is a community corrections order made?
When a court is considering making a CCO, it will often request an assessment report from Corrections. This is used to help inform the court about the appropriateness of different conditions that can be attached to the order. If the court is considering imposing a condition that the person perform community service work, it must have an assessment report completed.
The court will only impose a condition on a CCO that community work be performed if it is satisfied that:
- the person is suitable for community service work;
- it is appropriate in all of the circumstances that they be required to perform community service work;
- the arrangements exist in the area in which they live or intend to live for them to perform community service work; and
- the community service work can be provided in accordance with those arrangements
People commonly encounter problems with being assessed as suitable for community work due to:
- unresolved mental health issues;
- drug/alcohol issues;
- physical disabilities or injuries that might mean they can’t perform certain types of work;
- work commitments that mean that they could not perform Community Service in the programs that are available.
Maximum number of community work hours
A person may be required to perform community work under more than one order at the same time. When this occurs, the community work hours under the different orders run concurrently.
Under section 17G of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, an order must not be made that results in a person having to serve a total number of community work hours of more than:
- 750 hours, where one or more of the orders is an intensive corrections order
- 500 hours where all the orders are community corrections orders
Applying to vary a community corrections order
Under section 89 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, an application can be made to the court to vary, revoke or impose conditions on a CCO. This application can be made by the offender, a community corrections officer or a juvenile justice officer.
The court may deal with the application or refuse to consider the application if it is without merit.
Breaches of community corrections orders
If a person does not complete the community service hours set by the court within the given time, fail to turn up for their work, or fails to attend appointments set by community corrections, corrections may advise the court. A summons may issued for the person to attend court to answer the allegation of breaching the CCO. If the person admits breaching the CCO the court may revoke the order and impose a more severe penalty that could include actual imprisonment.
Why were community service orders abolished?
CSOs were abolished in 2018 when the Berejiklian government overhauled the community-based sentencing options set out in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. The government also abolished suspended sentences and good behaviour bonds at that time, and introduced other community-based sentencing options to replace them.
The government said the changes were necessary because of the high number of offenders being placed on community-based orders without supervision, which was felt to be an ineffective way of dealing with offending. The amended Act offers sentencing options that can be tailored to the individual situation and that encourage offenders to address the causes of their offending.
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