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[ Browse by Service Category : Criminal Correctional System : Sub-Topics of Alternative Sentencing/Supervision (81) ]

Community Based Residential Facilities

Facilities that provide a bridge between correctional institutions and the community for offenders, working on a system of gradual, supervised release. Programming for residents may include life skills, substance use disorder counselling, employment preparation and crisis counselling. Formerly known as halfway houses, CBRFs include facilities operated by the federal government, non-governmental agencies, hostels, private home placements (PHPs), Alternative Community Beds (ACBs), and supervised apartments.

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Community Service Orders

Programs that hold adult and youth offenders accountable for their crimes by having them spend a specified number of hours serving the community or crime victims through uncompensated work in lieu of a fine, restitution or jail. Community service orders (CSOs) may also be issued as a condition of probation by the court as a sanction, or it may be stipulated as a condition of diversion. Offenders can work for churches, hospitals, nursing homes, municipalities and other public and nonprofit organizations. CSOs are usually arranged and monitored through a corrections agency, but work assignments and supervision at the work site are normally the responsibility of a community organization such as a local volunteer centre or a public agency.

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Day/Evening Reporting Centres for Offenders

Highly structured non-residential programs which coordinate the supervision of nonviolent offenders from a central location. Offenders are required to report to the centre on a daily basis during daytime or evening hours, provide a schedule of their planned activities and participate in designated programs, services and activities. Offenders in day reporting programs who are not required to spend all of their time on site must report in by telephone throughout the day and can expect random phone checks by centre staff during the day and at home following curfew. Offenders in evening reporting programs, many of whom are juveniles, are required to report to the centre during the period of time in which delinquent activity is most likely to occur, generally three or four in the afternoon to nine in the evening, and participate in a variety of programs, activities and workshops which may address issues such as substance abuse, conflict resolution, life skills development, health and hygiene education, AIDS prevention, parenting skills and teenage pregnancy. Participation in these programs may be a requirement of probation, an alternative to returning to prison for people who have violated the terms and conditions of their probation or parole, constitute a form of pre-trial release or be a requirement for all released offenders at risk for committing additional crimes.

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Diversion Programs

Community-based programs that provide and/or coordinate the delivery of individual, group and family counselling, training, employment assistance and other prescribed social services for individuals who have been arrested for a minor offence and directed to participate in an educational or treatment program in lieu of prosecution for the offence. In most cases, the courts suspend prosecution for a prescribed period and dismiss charges altogether against those who successfully complete the program. Included are jail diversion programs which ensure that mentally ill offenders receive treatment and support services rather than spend time in jail.

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Intensive Supervision of Offenders

Programs that provide for the close surveillance and control of offenders released into the community but still under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system. Intensive supervision programs vary from province to province, mandate a high level of contact with correctional officers; and may involve requirements for counselling, education, drug treatment, random drug testing, community service and/or restitution; electronic monitoring and adherence to nightly curfews. Targets may include violent offenders, repeat offenders, drug offenders, sex offenders, domestic violence offenders, violent gang offenders and people who have violated the terms and conditions of their probation or parole.

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Intermittent Sentencing

Correctional programs that provide a partial alternative to total incarceration by allowing qualifying inmates to leave the institution for the purpose of continuing regular employment during the daytime, but requiring that they return to the institution nights and/or weekends. Also included are programs that provide an alternative sentencing option (intermittent sentencing) which allows adult or juvenile offenders to live at home and attend work or school during the week but spend their weekends (or other free time) participating in community work projects or completing a sentence in jail. These penalties, which place the offender in a probation situation during time spent outside the correctional facility, provide the public with a sense of punishment and the offender with a "lock-up" experience without isolating him or her with consequent job loss, breakdown of family ties and other problems.

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Programs that provide for the formal supervision of people who have been conditionally released from jail, prison or other confinement after serving part of the term for which they were sentenced based on the judgment of a parole board that there is a reasonable probability that they will live and remain at liberty without violating the law. People who are on parole remain in the legal custody of the province and may be reincarcerated if they violate the terms of their parole order.

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Programs that provide for the formal supervision of individuals who have been convicted of a crime, usually a lesser offence, and given a suspended sentence which releases them into the community under specific conditions which may include a reduced term in a correctional facility, fines, restitution to the victim, community work, counselling, "good conduct" and other stipulations.

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Victim Impact Programs

Programs that offer classes which are designed to help offenders accept responsibility for their criminal actions, understand the impact of crime on victims and the community, and refrain from future criminal behaviour. Individual classes may focus on specific types of crimes (generally those involving a personal relationship such as domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse or bullying) or may be intended for a broader range of offenders (e.g., those involved in property crimes, drunk driving, drug-related crimes, robbery, gang violence, sexual assault, homicide). The classes may involve personal presentations by victims of crimes (not specific victims of offenders in attendance but victims in unrelated cases) who describe how their victimization has affected their lives. Parents of incarcerated youth and people who provide services for victims may also participate. Offenders are encouraged to enter into a dialogue with the guest speakers. Victim impact classes have been adapted for both adult and juvenile offenders (the majority being for juveniles) in diversion, probation, prison, pre-release, detention, and parole supervised settings.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.

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