PRESENTATION TO CARIBBEAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE PROMOTING ALTERNATIVES TO CUSTODIAL PUNISHMENT. Presented by Claire Blandin Chief Probation Officer Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. PROBATION SERVICES Division. Overview
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Chief Probation Officer
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
The Probation of Offenders Act Chapter 13:51 is the piece of Legislation that governs the operations of the Probation Services Division of the Ministry of Social Development
The Probation Unit
The Community Service Orders Act No. 19 of 1997 was implemented by the Probation Services Division in the year 2000.
The Legislative Framework
The Court must be satisfied after consideration of a probation officer’s report, the offender and his circumstances, that he/she is a suitable candidate to perform work under the order and suitable arrangements can be made for the offender to do so.
For Breach of requirements of an Orderthe Court then has a range of options:
Regulations were drafted and sensitization efforts were initiatedwith:
Attitudes of Judiciary / Magistracy
Some were of the belief that offenders should pay for their crimes and Community Service was a “soft” punishment.
Less than one hundred Orders were made after the first year of the programme.
Non Governmental / Receiving Agencies
The primary argumentsof NGOs, CBOs and FBOs were:
Number of offenders on Community Service
From January to September 2007 –
161 offenders - 26,225 hours ordered
Between January and December 2006 –
180 offenders - 14,428 hours ordered
Number of offenders completed to date -
Recidivism rate between 15 – 20%
Types of Work Performed by Clients
Both in public and private sector
A Prison Reform and Transformation Implementation Unit has been set up to coordinate the recommendations made by a Cabinet Appointed Task Force with respect to further alternatives
The report considered