There are four Intervention Programs operating in the Magistrates Court, these are the :
An “intervention program” is defined in the Bail Act and the Sentencing Act as a program that provides—
(a) supervised treatment; or
(b) supervised rehabilitation; or
(c) supervised behaviour management; or
(d) supervised access to support services; or
(e) a combination of any one or more of the above.
Intervention Programs aim to address the underlying causes of crime prior to sentencing so that the likelihood of re-offending is reduced and participation can be taken into account in sentencing.
Intervention Programs operate in specialist courts not in the general criminal list and are not open to the general public, without prior approval from the presiding magistrate. Only one or two Magistrates are assigned to each specialist court so that they follow the progress of participants through the course of the program. Judicial supervision is a key component in all the Intervention Programs as research has shown that the Judicial Officer can positively influence participants to modify their behavior by acknowledging and praising achievements and applying sanctions ranging from verbal disapproval to revoking bail if program conditions are not adhered to.
Program participation is taken into account in sentencing however failure to complete an Intervention Program will not attract any additional penalty. The usual sentencing considerations for participants with mental impairment are applied which includes section 19C of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988.
Program Staff and Management
The Intervention Programs Manager holds responsibility under the Bail Act (S 21B), the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and the Intervention Orders Act for assessment and monitoring of participants. The position is responsible for managing all the Intervention Programs and for the clinical, administrative and operational staff employed in the programs. There are approximately 17.8 FTEs and one clinical team leader.
The manager reports to the Chief Magistrate and the Director of Court Services.
An inter-agency consultative committee comprising representatives from a wide range of agencies and chaired by the Deputy Chief Magistrate, assists the Court in ensuring the programs meet the needs of the participants and advise on interagency relations. The agencies represented include: Forensic Mental Health Services, Drug and Alcohol Services SA, Legal Services Commission, Attorney General’s Department, SA Police, Commissioner for Victims, Victim Support Services and Department for Correctional Services.
For information about the number of participants in the Intervention Programs and completion rates and outcomes, please refer to the CAA Annual Report.
The Office of Crime Statistics and Research has carried out evaluations on the Magistrates Court Diversion Program and the Drug Court. These are available for viewing on their website.