A Pre-Sentence Report is requested by the Court if you plead to, or are found guilty of, your offence.
If the Magistrate or Judge is considering a full time gaol sentence for your matter then, in order to be able to consider all options, they will order a report from Corrective Services.
The Magistrate/Judge will adjourn your matter for, at least, 6 weeks and direct you to attend your nearest office of Corrective Services’ Community Corrections (what used to be called Probation and Parole) for the preparation of a Pre-Sentence Report.
This is your first opportunity to co-operate fully with this Service.
They are there to help you by making recommendations to the Magistrate or Judge as to what alternatives are available to full time gaol.
There will be at least one interview, which you must attend in person, and possibly more depending on the complexity of your situation.
These interviews are generally conducted during working hours so you may need to arrange for time to attend the office.
Once the Pre-Sentence Report has been ordered, the first thing you need to do is to contact your local office of Community Corrections as soon as possible and supply them with all your contact details so that they can contact you to make appointments etc.
When you attend the interview: Be Prepared! There will be many questions that cover a wide range of topics.
They will want to know about:
• Your living situation: your address and how long you have been there, any previous addresses in the last 12 months.
• Your family background: mum, dad, brothers/sisters, other significant relatives (including contact details for all of them) what it was like growing up, do any of your family have a criminal record?
• What are your domestic circumstances (married, de facto, single), are there any AVOs in force between you and any one of your current or previous partners; do you have any children and do you have contact with them?
• What is your Cultural Background
• What level or education did you reach, were you ever suspended or expelled from school?
• What is your employment history and how long have you held each of your jobs, why did you leave that job?
• What are your current finances like? Where do you get your income? What commitments (rent, loans etc); What debts do you have? Do you gamble?
• What sporting associations do you belong to? What do you do in your spare time?
• Do you have friends and/or associates? Are any of them involved in crime? Do you know anyone who is not involved or supportive of crime?
• Do you use Alcohol and/or illicit drugs (answer this honestly – you will not be charged with anything just for disclosing this information). Have you ever entered a rehab program?
• Do you have any medical problems?
• Do you have any disabilities?
• Do you have any mental health issues? Have you ever been treated for any psychological issues?
• What do you think about the crime you have committed? What is your attitude to any sentence that may be imposed on you?
• Who can we contact (family member or other) to verify the information given?
As you can see, this is a wide ranging interview but, if you answer all questions honestly and fully, then the officer writing your report will be able to give the fullest possible range of options to the Court.
This may include a Supervised Bond with specific, targeted interventions for you to undertake; a Community Service Order or other options – all aimed at keeping you out of gaol!
How to ‘survive’ a Community Service Order will be covered in the next blog.
NOTE: David Harradine is not a solicitor and any information contained in the above is his personal opinion and in the nature of general information only. It in no way can replace expert legal opinion supplied by a practising solicitor.