The Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is working alongside all Victorian Government departments to keep services responsive to the needs of the Victorian community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To do this, changes are being made to the way in which Community Correctional Services (CCS) operates.

Management of offenders

CCS continues to operate and anyone subject to a community correction order, parole order or supervision order must continue to comply with the conditions of their order.

Justice Service Centre (JSC) receptions closed to the public on Thursday, 26 March 2020, however face-to-face supervision is continuing by appointment only. Work is also underway, where possible and appropriate, to reduce face-to-face appointments for offenders who report to CCS offices. Physical distancing measures are being applied where practicable, including keeping at least 1.5 metres between people whenever possible during face-to-face appointments.

Consistent with steps taken by Government to introduce physical distancing measures, where possible supervision and program appointments will be undertaken via telephone, Skype, Zoom or other technologies.

Please see the Changes to CCS page for more information.

Courts

CCS will continue to provide Court Assessment and Prosecutions Services (CAPS) to all jurisdictions of the court, in accordance with changes to court operations.

Any queries should be directed to your nearest CCS location in the first instance or to the Manager, CAPS Central Unit via capscentralunit@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)

Adult Parole Board

CCS will continue to service the Adult Parole Board (APB), with parole suitability assessment reports and other standard reports being provided to the APB in line with current practice. In person attendance will be limited, and if it is required will be facilitated at the respective CCS office via videoconference or other technology, wherever possible.

Any general enquiries should be directed to the CCS location in the first instance. Any queries relating to broader parole system issues should be directed to the Manager, Parole Central Unit via parole.centralunit@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)

Post Sentence Authority

CCS will continue to manage the post sentence cohort under intensive supervision and monitoring regimes.

CCS and the Post Sentence Branch will continue to service the Post Sentence Authority (PSA). Any form of non-compliance will be managed in line with business as usual processes.

The combined Corrections Victoria and Victoria Police Supervision Order Specialist Response Unit remains operational and will respond to any escalation in risk amongst the cohort in line with standard practice.

Reports will continue to be submitted to the PSA via the Post Sentence Branch.

In person attendance at the PSA will be limited, with offender and staff attendance being facilitated by videoconference or other technologies wherever possible.

Any queries should be directed to State-wide Operations, Post Sentence Branch via postsentencebranch.operations@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)

Alcohol and other drugs

In accordance with the requirements of their respective orders, offenders will be referred to undertake Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) assessment and treatment, noting that most services will be delivered via telephone, videoconferencing or other technologies.

CCS staff are working with AOD providers locally to confirm delivery methods for AOD services to offenders.

Any queries should be directed to the CCS location via email.

AOD testing

In accordance with the requirements of their respective orders, offenders will be referred to Dorevitch Pathology locations in the community to conduct urine testing. On-site testing services at CCS locations have been suspended until further notice. However in some instances, offenders may still be required to attend a CCS location for breathalyser testing.

Any queries should be directed to the CCS location via email.

Mental health

In accordance with the requirements of their respective orders, offenders will be referred to a range of providers to undertake mental health assessment and treatment.

Referrals to a GP for a mental health care plan will continue. Where this is required, CCS case managers will need to ascertain from the medical clinic whether Telehealth is possible or if face-to-face consultation is required.

The Forensic Mental Health in Community Health Program will continue to operate. Offenders currently engaged in the program will continue to be treated by their clinician in the form of video-based or telephone sessions. Any new referral to the program may be conducted through video-based or telephone-based assessments at the discretion of the clinician and case manager.

Any queries should be directed to the CCS location via email

Program delivery

Corrections Victoria will continue to deliver offence-specific interventions and transition and reintegration support services to offenders across prisons and CCS.

Offenders are still required to attend offence-specific alcohol and other drugs and other programs as directed where it is a condition of their order.

Program delivery is now moving to the use of remote technology wherever possible. There may also be an increasing use of one-on-one interventions using technology or physical distancing, if required.

Some program providers, like alcohol and other drug service providers have established remote access models. They will work with offenders to ensure they are provided with appointments via telephone, Skype or other technologies.

Recognising that release from prison into the community during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can create practical challenges and heightened stress for offenders, additional exit support measures are being put in place. This includes facilitating appropriate and safe transportation options for offenders exiting custody, and emergency accommodation options for prisoners that do not have appropriate housing or to facilitate those who are required to self-isolate.

Family violence service providers are still in regular contact with perpetrators who are engaged in their services and are maintaining family safety contact services with their victims.

Information and resources about the changes to Corrections Victoria programs are being disseminated to impacted service providers.

Any queries about the changes to Corrections Victoria offence specific programs should be directed to FIS.SupportServices@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)

Any queries about the changes to transitional support programs should be directed to tru@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)