Presentation to caribbean regional conference promoting alternatives to custodial punishment
Download
1 / 52

PRESENTATION TO CARIBBEAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE PROMOTING ALTERNATIVES TO CUSTODIAL PUNISHMENT - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 228 Views
  • Uploaded on

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

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'PRESENTATION TO CARIBBEAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE PROMOTING ALTERNATIVES TO CUSTODIAL PUNISHMENT' - Leo


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Presentation to caribbean regional conference promoting alternatives to custodial punishment

PRESENTATION TOCARIBBEAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE PROMOTINGALTERNATIVES TO CUSTODIAL PUNISHMENT

Presented by

Claire Blandin

Chief Probation Officer

Republic of Trinidad and Tobago


Probation services division
PROBATION SERVICESDivision

Overview

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


Probation services
PROBATION SERVICES

The Probation Unit

  • Probation Services has been in effect since 1947

  • Prior to this period, Social Work was managed through Voluntary after-care services / interventions provided by Religious organizations


Probation services cont d
PROBATION SERVICES(cont’d)

  • The Service was established to provide an alternative to imprisonment for young persons convicted of criminal offences

  • Probation became the social arm of the Court, providing counselling and rehabilitation services for probationers, problem children, marital couples etc.


Probation services cont d1
PROBATION SERVICES(cont’d)

  • Judges and Magistrates use Probation as a sentence quite frequently

  • Individuals can be placed on Probation for periods of one (1) to three (3) years.

  • Currently the Probation Caseload is 325 persons, including Tobago


Probation services cont d2
PROBATION SERVICES(cont’d)

  • Persons placed on Probation are mainly between the ages of fourteen (14) and twenty five (25) years old.


Probation services the community service orders unit
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Overview

The Community Service Orders Act No. 19 of 1997 was implemented by the Probation Services Division in the year 2000.


Probation services the community service orders unit1
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • As early as 1980 a Commission of Enquiry made recommendations that Community Services Orders to be introduced

  • The Commission felt Community Service kept the family where it existed (together)


Probation services the community service orders unit2
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The Commission noted that the State did not have to be financially responsible for both offender and his or her dependents, which occurs when a custodial sentence is imposed.

  • The Commission also saw Community Service as a medium through which the prison population could be reduced.


Probation services the community service orders unit3
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The Community Service Orders Act 1997, was passed in both Houses of Parliament in August 1997 and proclaimed on June 1, 1998.

  • Only then was it seriously considered as a Court sanctioned alternative.


Probation services the community service orders unit4
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The main objective of a Community Service Order (CSO) requires an offender to perform unpaid work in accordance with the provisions of the Act.


Probation services the community service orders unit5
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Rationale for the Orders is to prevent further re-offending by re-integrating the offender into the Community by:

  • Introducing positive and demanding unpaid work


Probation services the community service orders unit6
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Encouraging in the offenders a sense of personal responsibility and self- discipline.

  • Ensuring reparation to the community by undertaking socially useful work, making good the damage done


Probation services the community service orders unit7
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Reducing the risk of recidivism or repeat offending

  • Benefitting the community by providing labour or work which would otherwise be undone or costly.


Probation services the community service orders unit8
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

The Legislative Framework

  • The Community Service Orders Act 1997 allows for a non-custodial sentence to be imposed in situations where normally the penalty would be imprisonment for twelve months or less.


Probation services the community service orders unit9
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The Offender must be sixteen (16) years of age or over, convicted of an offence and may, with his/her consent, have their sentence of imprisonment suspended for up to two years


Probation services the community service orders unit10
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The Community Service to be completed may require the offender to perform between forty to two hundred and forty (40 – 240) hours of unpaid work in the service of his/her community wherever possible


Probation services the community service orders unit11
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

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.


Probation services the community service orders unit12
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Work performed under the Community Service Order should, as far as possible, be completed within the twelve (12) month period from the date of the order.

  • The order will remain in force past that time, if the specified number of hours contained in the Order has not been performed.


Probation services the community service orders unit13
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

For Breach of requirements of an Orderthe Court then has a range of options:

  • to continue the Order and impose a fine

  • to continue the existing order and make an additional order


Probation services the community service orders unit14
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Revoke the order and enforce the term of imprisonment previously suspended


Probation services the community service orders unit15
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Community Service is not applicable to certain types of offences. These offences listed in the schedule to the Act include murder, manslaughter, possession of arms and ammunition, shooting, robbery, any sexual offence, drug trafficking and kidnapping


Probation services the community service orders unit16
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The Act provides for variation or revoking of the Order by application by the Probation/Community Service Officer or the offender

  • The Act also makes provisions for the imposition of Combination Orders which bring together the elements of a Probation Order and a Community Service Order.


Probation services the community service orders unit17
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • On successful completion of community service, such a person is given the opportunity to apply to the Court to have his conviction nullified / expunged. In the case of a first time offender, the offender is given a new start, as if he/she never committed an offence.


Probation services the community service orders unit18
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Implementation

  • An Ad-Hoc Committee was establishedand was given the responsibility to make recommendations for the successful implementation of the Act


Probation services the community service orders unit19
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The Committee presented a report which included inter alia:

  • The establishment of an organizational structure

  • A Public Education Strategy

  • The upgrading of the Probation Services Division


Probation services the community service orders unit20
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • The training of members of the Judiciary, Prosecuting Attorneys, non legally trained Police Prosecutors, staff of the Probation Services Division

  • The mobilization of Non Governmental Organizations to perform the task of Receiving Agencies in partnership with Government


Probation services the community service orders unit21
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Regulations were drafted and sensitization efforts were initiatedwith:

  • Workshops organized throughout the country for Non-Governmental Organizations and the public to which the media (electronic and print) was invited


Probation services the community service orders unit22
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • A paper presented to Judges of the Supreme Court at the Judicial Education Workshop for High Court Judges

  • The Court and Process arm of the Police Service given copies of the Act for discussion and to explain the plan of action for implementation


Probation services the community service orders unit23
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Magistrates individually approached with copies of all documents that would be used in the sentencing of offenders to Community Service, including a copy of the Act, for their comments and feedback


Probation services the community service orders unit24
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • A television documentary on Community Service recorded for the viewing audience of Trinidad and Tobago by the Government’s Information Division.

  • Seminars and workshops were coordinated and continued for the public, Organizations and Agencies


Probation services the community service orders unit25
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Radio/talk shows were hosted

  • Pamphlets were distributed

  • Simultaneously, the staffing needs were addressedby Cabinet


Probation services the community service orders unit26
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Attitudes of Judiciary / Magistracy

  • Judges initially lobbied for the introduction of community service but the schedule of non-applicable offences immediately excludes them from utilizing community service orders as an option (Section 3(1) of Act.)


Probation services the community service orders unit27
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Many Magistrates were of the opinion that the Community Service Act would not work.

    Some were of the belief that offenders should pay for their crimes and Community Service was a “soft” punishment.


Probation services the community service orders unit28
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Those who bought into the concept went cautiously ahead, particularly those Magistrates who sat in suburban and rural areas.

    Less than one hundred Orders were made after the first year of the programme.


Probation services the community service orders unit29
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Our challenges:

  • Not all Magistrates accepted the presence or the reports of the Community Service Officers

  • Some Magistrates place offenders on Community Service “From The Bench” without the benefit of a probation report, once the offender consents.


Probation services the community service orders unit30
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Quite recently, an offender was convicted on an indictable offence. The sentence was appealed and the offender was subsequently placed on Community Service.

  • Many of the Community Service Orders have been given for the Possession of Marijuana.


Probation services the community service orders unit31
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Recommendations

  • Community Service Orders be extended to have Offenders attend counselling sessions and/or drug rehabilitation programmes, once it is established that drug/alcohol use is the genesis of the presenting problem.


Probation services the community service orders unit32
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Provision be made for the offenders to perform Community Service on weekends, once the offenders’ rights are not violated.

  • The age for placing an offender on Community Service be reduced from sixteen (16) to fourteen (14) years.


Probation services the community service orders unit33
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Non Governmental / Receiving Agencies

The primary argumentsof NGOs, CBOs and FBOs were:

  • They viewed the offenders as a threat to their security and as criminals

  • They felt they should be given monetary incentives to accept these so called “criminals”


Probation services the community service orders unit34
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • They questioned who would be responsible and or liable if an offender is injured while on active duty performing community service


Probation services the community service orders unit35
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

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


Probation services the community service orders unit36
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Number of offenders completed to date -

approximately 185

Recidivism rate between 15 – 20%


Probation services the community service orders unit37
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Types of Work Performed by Clients

Both in public and private sector

  • Assisting in Preparing Meals for Senior Citizens

  • Grooming Residents in Senior Citizens’ Homes

  • Painting

  • Labouring


Probation services the community service orders unit38
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • Masonry

  • Plumbing

  • Training (Teaching)

  • Reforestation

  • Landscaping

  • General Maintenance


Probation services the community service orders unit39
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Further Challenges:

  • Attracting and maintaining staff

  • Maintaining the interest of the NGOs, CBOs and FBOs.

  • Enlisting new Agencies to accept the offenders

  • Maintaining liaison with the Magistracy to encourage continued use of the Programme


Probation services the community service orders unit40
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

  • OSHA Act – What happens/who is responsible if an offender is injured on the job?

  • Who is responsible to provide safety equipment/protective gear for offenders?

  • Having the Police Service acknowledge the nullification order as they remain on the books


Probation services the community service orders unit41
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

Success Stories

  • Offenders being offered employment at an Agency after successfully completing Community Service Order

  • Offender beginning own business and being used as a Receiving Agency

  • Offenders returning to tell of their own experience (no one cared about them)


Probation services the community service orders unit42
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

New Horizons

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


Probation services the community service orders unit43
PROBATION SERVICESThe Community Service Orders Unit

The report considered

  • Community Corrections

  • Restorative Justice

  • Youth Justice

  • Parole

  • Attendance Centres etc.


Probation services division ministry of social development
Probation Services DivisionMinistry of Social Development

THANK YOU


Probation services division ministry of social development1
Probation Services DivisionMinistry of Social Development

Questions ?