Criminal lawyers will tell you that being sent to prison is not always the best way to help a person who has broken a minor law. If you have committed an offence for which you should be punished but not sent to prison, community based correction orders may be instigated. This teaches you that there is always some kind of consequences for your actions, whether they are good or bad.
When you have community based correction orders applied to your case as a punishment, it usually means you have to do some kind of work to help and improve the community you live in. It may also include taking part in human development courses, educational or vocational training and undergoing rehab or some kind of treatment to address your problems.
To ensure you do what the court has ordered, a correctional officer will be assigned to you. You usually have to report to your correctional officer during the period of your orders. It is wise to do everything you have been ordered to do, otherwise worse punishment may be given.
Before deciding what orders to give you, the court usually requires a pre-sentencing report, which may delay the proceedings while it is being prepared. However, it is an important step so the court can ensure the orders accurately reflect your needs. The length of orders are from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the offence.
With a community based order there are certain things you must do –
- Report to your correctional officer within 72 hours of it being given.
- Advise your officer of any address or work changes
- You cannot leave the state you live in without permission from the officer
- Comply with directions from the Community Corrections Office
- Obey all the terms of the court order
One thing you should know about community based orders is that the court can make them ‘spent orders’. This means that once the sentence has been carried out, you don’t have to tell anyone about it and no conviction will be recorded against your name. So if you apply for a job it is not necessary to reveal it. This gives you a much greater chance of gaining employment. However, certain circumstances may require you to reveal it. If a spent order was not made, you will still have a criminal record.
If you don’t comply with the order for the whole time it is in effect, this constitutes a breach of the order and you’ll have to reappear in court. You may receive another sentence for the same offence as well as for any others and the magistrate is unlikely to serve community based orders on you again, but something worse.