Good Behaviour Bonds under Section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 permitted offenders to be in the community rather than be incarcerated, so long as they followed set conditions.
A Section 9 would be granted when the defendant met the criteria for this sentencing and this was a well known outcome in the criminal justice system.
Good Behaviour Bonds have now been replaced with Community Corrections Orders.
What is a Good Behaviour Bond (Section 9)?
A Good Behaviour Bond was a sentencing outcome from Section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedures) Act 1999. It meant the offender did not have to go to jail, but comply with behavioural conditions instead.
When taking the different sentencing options into account, the Court had to consider the following:
- The age, health, and mental stability of the defendant
- Criminal history
- Seriousness of the offence
- Extenuating circumstances (e.g. provocation, emergency, lack of understanding)
- Potential threat to the wider community
- Likelihood of reoffending
- Remorse of the defendant
Generally speaking, if the defendant were of stable mind, had no previous criminal history, committed a summary offence, and did not pose a threat to the community, it would be likely a Section 9 was granted.
Incarceration is a punishment for breaching the Crimes Act 1900, whereas Good Behaviour Bonds acted more as an incentive for early behavioural rehabilitation and deterrence to prevent offenders from reoffending.
Especially in instances where the offence was either a first time offence or a summary offence, sending someone to jail and using prison resources could be avoided.
When a Section 9 Good Behaviour Bond was imposed, the Court would outline set conditions for the terms of release. These conditions, i.e. the bond, must have been agreed upon by the defendant. Breaches to the bond amounted to further criminal proceedings.
After 24 September 2018, Good Behaviour Bonds under Section 9 were replaced with Community Correction Orders.
What is a Community Corrections Order?
Community Corrections Orders (CCO) automatically replaced old Section 9 Good Behaviour Bonds after September 2018.
A Community Corrections Order is similar to a Good Behaviour Bond, as it allows offenders to participate in society under strict conditions rather than being sent to jail.
The procedures for making a CCO include:
- Assessment reports
- Duration and commencement
- Appropriate conditions
- Explanation of the order
The Court must make an assessment report under both Sections 17C(1) and 17D(4) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
The assessment must state that the offender is suitable to meet the subject of the conditions of a Community Corrections Order, as opposed to imprisonment.
Duration and Commencement
The order must state how long the CCO is valid for, and when the commencement date is to begin.
CCOs are only valid for three years from the date of commencement, unlike GBB five year period.
The conditions of the CCO must be appropriate to the offender, for example, a domestic violence offender cannot be granted a CCO unless the Court believes they are not a danger to the victim or wider community.
Other conditions mirror the old Section 9 Good Behaviour Bonds, such as:
- Community service (not exceeding 500 hours)
- Rehabilitation or treatment
- Abstinence from drugs and alcohol
- Non-association conditions
- Prohibition of frequenting of or visits to
The order must be explained to the offender so they understand the full extent of their obligations under the order.
Section 9 Good Behaviour Bond Conditions
Examples of Good Behaviour Bond conditions include:
- Curfew times
- Restrictions on travel and accommodation
- Supervision by a NSW Probation Service officer
- Counselling – drug, alcohol, psychological, etc.
- Residing at a rehabilitation centre
In addition to these conditions, some offenders were also imposed with other punishments like a fine or disqualification of driver’s licence.
Good Behaviour Bond Breaches
When a Good Behaviour Bond was breached, the Court had three options:
- Take no action
- Modify the conditions of the bond
- Revoke and resentence
Taking no action was the least effective and least favourable approach by the Courts, as it did not uphold the principles of justice or community protection.
When the conditions of the bond were modified, they were done so in accordance with the breach. If the breach was deemed reasonable or necessary, then the conditions could be amended to reflect changing circumstances.
However, unfortunately it was often the case that harsher conditions needed to be imposed.
In some circumstances, if the offender broke the conditions of the Good Behaviour Bond to an extremity, the bond could be revoked and subject to resentencing.
Resentencing was a last resort for the Courts, but necessary if the defendant demonstrated their lack of willingness to rehabilitate – evident by their breach or reoffence.
What happened at the end of a Good Behaviour Bond (Section 9)?
When a Section 9 Good Behaviour Bond expired, the conditions of the bond would expire with it.
This means the offender was no longer bound to the rules imposed by the bond, they were free to do what they wanted.
Good Behaviour Bond and Travel
The conditions of Good Behaviour Bonds varied from case to case, yet most had restrictions for travel. This could mean not travelling outside a 10km radius of your home, or not being able to travel overseas.
Generally, most offenders were prohibited from either interstate and/or international travel during the period of their Bond.
Frequently asked questions about Section 9 Good Behaviour Bonds
How long does a Good Behaviour Bond stay on your record?
A Good Behaviour Bond is permanently on your criminal record.
The conviction was not quashed when a Good Behaviour Bond was granted, the sentencing was just more lenient compared to other options.
What does a Good Behaviour Bond entail?
A Good Behaviour Bond entailed set conditions by the court for offenders to follow.
These conditions allowed them to participate in society and engage in rehabilitation instead of being punished for their crime through incarceration.
How do I know when my Good Behaviour Bond is finished?
When the Bond commenced, the Court and relevant parties would notify you of the expiry.
Depending on the set conditions of the bond, you may be contacted prior to the expiry.
Otherwise, your bond will finish on the agreed date.