The Community Correction Order (CCO) is a sentencing order that provides for an offender’s punishment and rehabilitation in the community. An offender’s failure to comply with a CCO without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment.
CCOs became available as a sentencing option in Victoria on 16 January 2012, replacing a number of community orders, such as the community-based order and the intensive correction order, and coinciding with the progressive phasing out of suspended sentences of imprisonment. Previously, sentencing courts had a suite of community orders of increasing severity sitting below imprisonment. In contrast, the CCO is designed as a single order that a court can make more or less severe through the length of the order and the conditions attached to it. CCOs may also be combined with a sentence of imprisonment (a ‘combined order’), making them an option for serious offences.
Since the introduction of CCOs, there has been considerable research into their use, which has increased substantially, and into the effect of subsequent changes to sentencing law and practice, which have been extensive. However, there has been very little research into offenders’ compliance with their CCOs.
Quantifying the proportion of offenders who contravene their CCOs, including by further offending, is a first step to understanding whether CCOs are operating effectively. Similarly, identifying factors that might be associated with contravention and analysing the courts’ responses to contraventions are important aspects of understanding how the orders are working in practice.
This report assesses how many offenders contravene their CCO by committing a new imprisonable offence or by failing to comply with another term or condition of the CCO, such as failing to turn up for community work. The report also assesses factors associated with, and court responses to, contraventions.
In this report, an offender is classified as having contravened their CCO if they have been sentenced for:
• a charge of contravening a CCO (under section 83AD of the Sentencing Act 1991(Vic)); and/or
• a separate imprisonable offence committed while on their CCO.
This report is confined to contraventions that are proven and sentenced in court and therefore excludes contraventions dealt with administratively by Corrections Victoria. This means that, in this report, the proportion of offenders found to have contravened their CCO may underestimate the true rate of non-compliance.
The report focuses on all offenders in Victoria who received a CCO from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013: a total of 7,645 offenders. Using sentencing data, the Council tracked each offender’s proven offending activity while their CCO was in operation to 30 June 2016.