One component of my sentence was a two year Community Corrections Order (CCO). Whereas the role of Police is to investigate and prosecute crimes committed (past), Corrections is focused on community-based supervision of offenders, providing oversight to reduce the risk of re-offending (future).
In addition to basic conditions like not offending and not leaving the state without permission, each CCO carries at least one other condition. (See the Corrections Victoria website for more info.) In my case, the key condition is to undergo a risk assessment and then participate in whatever programme is recommended, if any.
Corrections Victoria’s Specialised Offender Assessment & Treatment Service (SOATS) does assessments and runs a range of group-based treatment programmes. I think they run for about six months. I can’t tell you what they’re like yet, because I’m still waiting for the initial assessment. In fact, I hear that the main reason for the two-year CCO term is to ensure there is enough time to both do the assessment and complete the programme. Presumably the SOATS assessors know that they have some time to play with, and prioritise higher-risk offenders first. When my time comes, I’ll let you know how it goes.
On the whole, I’ve found my interactions with Corrections to be positive and productive. Corrections Officers come and go (I can’t imagine it’s a fun job), so I’ve now got someone new, but everyone I’ve had so far have been fine to deal with. The biggest issue is that appointments are during business hours, which impacts on work. Fortunately, my employers haven’t asked for details about my recurring fortnightly appointment; I guess they presume it’s for meeting with my psychologist.
Tips for offenders: This is one of those situations where you’ll be fine if you have nothing to hide. Be open and honest about your experiences and your efforts to turn your life around. Be gracious and deferential. They don’t want to hear you complaining about your sentence or minimising what you’ve done. They just want to be sure that you’re stable and successfully managing risk.