The Community Service is an arm of the Correctional Services and is comprised of Probation Officers. It functions in the courts of Law, homes, schools, the Juvenile and Adult Correctional Centres, and in the wider community. It enables the provision of confidential reports as requested for the courts in assisting the process of sentencing. When non-custodial and other orders are made, offenders are placed under the supervision of Probation Officers and all effort is directed to the primary goal of rehabilitation.
Courts of Law
The Probation Officer does Social Inquiry Reports for all courts. In the case of the adult courts, reports have to be done on the request of the Resident Magistrates or Judges. These reports provide information of the entire lifestyle of the offender and assist the court in deciding the best treatment for the offender. Sentencing ranges from Incarceration to Community-based Orders e.g. Probation, Supervision, Suspended Sentence Supervision, and Community Service Orders.
It is the duty of the Probation Officer to befriend, advise and assist the offender during the period of his Court Order to re-adjust to the acceptable norms of his society.
Juvenile Correctional Centres
Receive wards from the Juvenile and Family Courts. These might be 12 years old and are not kept in the institution beyond 18 years old. The school aims at providing the wards with a rounded development and re-fitting them into society.
Adult Correctional Centre
Probation Officers provide a through-care service for inmates of the eight adult Correctional Centres. Inmates have the opportunity to express their personal problems and of having a trained social worker to assist them to find solutions. Through the Probation Officer, they keep in touch with homes and property, and do not suffer the total fear of losing their belongings. Inmates who complete their term of sentence are also given emotional and material support. It also enables financial assistance via Rehabilitation Grant.
The Parole Act makes it possible for an inmate to spend a part of his sentence in the community. At the very outset, Probation Officers in the field and in the Centres are required to prepare parole reports for the Parole Board in respect of applicants. The inmates who are granted parole are supervised by Probation After-Care Officers, who assist parolees to become worthy citizens.
These orders give the offender the opportunity of paying back to society, without becoming an economic burden, and suffering greater damage to character. Subject to supervision by the Probation After-Care Officer, the offender follows a treatment plan, which aims at helping him to change his lifestyle and at the same time be gainfully employed. He lives at home with his family during this process and develops the independence, which gives a sense of worth, He does not suffer grave social stigma, nor does he lose his place in society.
It is accepted, however, that not all offenders can be treated by non-custodial sentence, and so the Community Service Programme is geared to facilitate custodial and non-custodial treatment by providing through care programmes.