The community correction order (CCO) is a flexible sentencing order that an offender serves in the community. A court can impose a community correction order on its own or in addition to imprisonment or a fine.
Community correction orders are imposed in around 12% of cases in the higher courts and 6% of cases in the Magistrates’ Court (2020–21).
Duration of Community Correction Orders
In the higher courts, the maximum length of a community correction order is five years.
In the Magistrates’ Court, the maximum length of a community correction order can be:
- two years for one offence
- four years for two offences
- five years for three or more offences.
Terms and Conditions of Community Correction Orders
Offenders sentenced to a community correction order must abide by standard (core) terms, including:
- not reoffending
- not leaving Victoria without permission
- reporting to a community corrections centre
- complying with written directions from the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
Each community correction order must attach at least one additional condition. Additional conditions may be attached to a community correction order for all or part of its duration. Additional conditions can require the offender to:
- undertake medical treatment or other rehabilitation
- not enter, remain within or consume alcohol in licensed premises (such as a hotel, club or restaurant)
- complete unpaid community work up to a total of 600 hours
- be supervised, monitored and managed by a corrections worker
- abstain from contact or association with particular people, for example, co-offenders
- live (or not live) at a specified address
- stay away from nominated places or areas
- abide by a curfew, remaining at a specified place for between two and 12 hours each day
- be monitored and reviewed by the court to ensure compliance with the order
- pay a bond, which is a sum of money that may be given up wholly or partly if the offender fails to comply with any condition imposed.
An offender who breaches a condition of a community correction order may be resentenced for the original offence and may face up to three months additional imprisonment for the breach.
Intensive Compliance Period
If a court imposes a community correction order of six months or more, part of that time may be set as an intensive compliance period. During this time, the offender must complete one or more of the conditions attached to the community correction order.
For example, if a 12-month community correction order is imposed, the first six months may be fixed as an intensive compliance period during which the offender must complete a treatment program.
For offenders with an intellectual disability, the court may attach a justice plan as a condition of sentence. The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing prepares justice plans. The plans specify treatment services aimed at reducing the chances that the offender will reoffend.
Community Correction Orders and Imprisonment
Section 44 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) allows courts to impose both imprisonment and a community correction order for one or more offences. This is known as a combined order. For combined orders, the community correction order takes effect when the offender is released from prison.
The maximum term of imprisonment that can be combined with a community correction order is one year.
Judges and magistrates need to factor in any time that the offender has already served on remand before imposing a combined order.
Guideline Judgment on Community Correction Orders
Guideline judgments provide Victorian courts with guidance on how to sentence similar cases in future.
In 2014 the Victorian Court of Appeal delivered its first guideline judgement. It contains guidance on how courts should use a community correction order as a sentencing option.
Our research into community correction orders includes the effect of that guideline judgement on their use.
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