Last updated 12 August 2016

Probation orders

A probation order is a community-based order where the offender is under the supervision of a corrective services officer and must comply with certain conditions. A probation order can only be made if the offender agrees to comply with it, so it is important for the offender to understand all the conditions of the order before they agree (s 96 Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) (Penalties and Sentences Act)). Probation orders may be combined with community service orders and are often given to young offenders who would benefit from the supervision and direction of such an order.

A probation order may allow the immediate release of the offender:

  • under the supervision of a corrective services officer for a period specified in the order (which generally cannot be less than six months or more than three years). When making this type of probation order, the court has a discretion whether or not to record a conviction
  • on probation after a period of imprisonment, which must not exceed 12 months. The probationary period served after the period of imprisonment must not be less than nine months or more than three years. A conviction must be recorded if this type of order is made (s 92(1)(b) Penalties and Sentences Act).

A probation order will require the offender to:

  • report to a corrective services officer at the place and within the time specified in the order
  • report to and receive visits from the officer as directed by the officer
  • take part in counselling and satisfactorily attend any other programs as directed by the court or the officer during the probation period
  • notify the officer of any change of the offender’s home address or employment within two business days after the change happens
  • comply with every reasonable direction of the officer
  • observe the law during the probation period
  • stay in Queensland, unless the permission of a corrective services officer to leave the state is obtained (s 93 Penalties and Sentences Act).

An order may also require the offender to submit to medical, psychiatric or psychological treatment or comply with other conditions that the court thinks necessary to cause the offender to behave in a way acceptable to the community or to stop the offender from committing further offences (s 94 Penalties and Sentences Act).

Community service orders

A community service order requires an offender to perform unpaid community service under the supervision of a corrective services officer for a number of hours, which cannot be less than 40 hours or more than 240 hours (s 107 Penalties and Sentences Act). These hours of community service must be completed within one year of the making of the order or by another date specified by the court. The order can only be made with the consent of the offender (s 106 Penalties and Sentences Act).

The order will require the offender to report to a corrective services officer within the time and at the place specified in the order. The officer will, having regard to the skills and abilities of the offender, direct the offender to perform a certain type of community service. The order will contain other requirements similar to those that appear in a probation order (see above). These orders are a particularly useful sentencing option as the offender is giving something back to the community.

When imposing a community service order, the court has discretion whether or not to record a conviction (s 100 Penalties and Sentences Act).

Intensive correction orders

According to the Penalties and Sentences Act, an intensive correction order can only be made if the court has:

  • sentenced an offender to a term of imprisonment of one year or less (s 112)
  • recorded a conviction (s 111).

The effect of the order is that the offender serves the sentence by way of intensive correction in the community (s 113 Penalties and Sentences Act). An intensive correction order is usually imposed as a last resort (on people who have a history of offending) before an offender is given a sentence of actual imprisonment. The offender must consent to the order (s 117 Penalties and Sentences Act). The order will require the offender to:

  • report to a corrective services officer
  • abstain from committing any offences during the period of the order (which will be one year or less)
  • take part in counselling and attend programs as directed by the court or the officer
  • perform community service
  • reside at community residential facilities for periods not longer than seven days at a time as directed by the officer (s 114 Penalties and Sentences Act).

An offender may also be required to submit to medical, psychiatric or psychological treatment or comply with any other conditions that the court considers necessary to cause the offender to behave in a way that is acceptable to the community or to stop the offender from committing further offences (s 115 Penalties and Sentences Act).

The offender, subject to an intensive correction order, will not be taken to have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for the purposes of any legislation providing for the disqualification for, or loss of, office or the forfeiture of benefits (s 113 Penalties and Sentences Act).