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Community Corrections Orders More Widely Used

The attached article from the LIV news highlights the increased use of Community Corrections Orders

Council Releases Findings on CCO Use Post Boulton v The Queen

30 June 2016

A new report released by the Council has found that Victoria’s first guideline judgment has resulted in courts imposing more imprisonment sentences combined with a community correction order (CCO).

The Council’s report, Community Correction Orders: Third Monitoring Report (Post-Guideline Judgment), examined how Victoria’s criminal courts used the CCO in the 12 months following the guideline judgment issued by the Court of Appeal in Boulton v The Queen on 22 December 2014.

The guideline judgment emphasised the capacity of the CCO to be a punitive sanction, both when imposed as a sentence in its own right and when imposed in combination with imprisonment.

The clearest effect of the guideline judgment on broad sentencing trends has been on the volume of CCOs imposed in combination with imprisonment. These CCOs are served by offenders after the prison component of their sentence has been completed. Between the December quarter of 2014 and the December quarter of 2015, the percentage of all offenders who received this combined order increased from 1.7% to 2.4% in the Magistrates’ Court, and from 12.2% to 25.8% in the County and Supreme Courts.

In 2015, there was an increase in the use of the CCO as a sentence in its own right – particularly in the Magistrates’ Court where an additional 2,760 offenders received a CCO. This increase was driven by the courts’ use of the CCO as a replacement for suspended sentences. Following their abolition in the Magistrates’ Court for any offence committed on or after 1 September 2014, the use of suspended sentences in that jurisdiction fell from 5.2% of all sentences in the September quarter of 2014 to 0.6% of all sentences in the December quarter of 2015.

The report has also found that:

  • between 2012 and 2015, the average length of a CCO increased from 11.7 months to 12.8 months in the Magistrates’ Court and from 21.6 months to 27.6 months in the higher courts
  • the use of the ‘supervision’ condition for CCOs increased in the Magistrates’ Court from 28.8% in 2014 to 49.7% in 2015
  • the percentage of offenders aged 25 and over who received a CCO in the Magistrates’ Court increased from 68.9% in 2012 to 75.7% in 2015
  • assault-related offences were the most common offence type to receive a CCO (just over 30% of cases in 2015)
  • when combined with imprisonment, a CCO was less likely to involve a condition of unpaid community work and more likely to involve supervision
  • in the Magistrates’ Court, unpaid community work was used for 32.0% of CCOs imposed in combination with imprisonment, and for 76.6% of CCOs imposed as principal sentences.

Community Correction Orders: Third Monitoring Report (Post-Guideline Judgment) is available from this website.

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