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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135864 Find in a Library
Title: Community Service Orders: Views of Organizers in NSW
Author(s): G Houghton
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 44
Sponsoring Agency: Judicial Cmssn of New South Wales
Sydney NSW, 2000
Publication Number: ISBN 0-7305-8595-6
Sale Source: Judicial Cmssn of New South Wales
Level 5
301 George Street
Sydney NSW,
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This report is based on information gathered from interviews of 19 New South Wales probation and parole officers involved in the operation of the Community Service Order (CSO) scheme.
Abstract: Interviews took place over a 6-week period in November-December 1989. When questioned about the overall objectives of the CSO scheme, all officers said keeping people out of prison was of prime importance. Only 58 percent, however, indicated this objective was being met. They believed this was the case in part because some sentencers did not use CSO's as an alternative to prison, but as a further option in the penalty range. Secondary objectives of the CSO schemes were seen to be community benefit, rehabilitation, recompense, and cheaper punishment. Most officers felt that the wide discretion afforded them in the areas of assessment, placement, and breach of offenders was essential to the smooth running of the CSO scheme. They indicated, however, that the responsibilities attached to the discretion were generally underestimated by the judiciary. Some expressed a desire for more support from the court in breach proceedings and in considering limits on the suitability of offenders for CSO's. Thirty-seven percent of officers expressed the view that the most important criterion for CSO suitability was the client's likelihood of receiving a gaol sentence. Offender reliability and motivation were also important. Drug and alcohol offenses did not automatically exclude one from being recommended for the scheme, but made placement more difficult. Other practical criteria, such as lack of transport, physical disability, single parent status, and full-time employment, had to be considered as well. Most officers reported that the CSO program did not have sufficient resources, and 95 percent mentioned that the volume of fine default orders had a significant impact on clerical and organizational aspects of their work. Policy issues related to the CSO scheme are discussed. Appendixes provide additional information on the interview study. 20 references, 6 tables, and 5 figures
Main Term(s): Community service order
Index Term(s): Community service programs; Foreign probation or parole services; New South Wales
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