Community-based corrections / justice

Andrew Groves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The decision of whether to imprison offenders or attempt to “correct” their offending behaviour in the community is a serious and contentious one. This dichotomy highlights key challenges in the intersections between sentencing and corrections, as well as the broader notion of justice. Community-based corrections (CBCs) lie at the heart of these intersections, functioning in a landscape influenced by politics, shifting theoretical and empirical knowledge bases and the increasing role that public opinion – influenced itself, by media – plays in contemporary Australian criminal justice.

This chapter examines the complicated terrain of CBCs to provide a broad overview, examining a range of theoretical and pragmatic issues that impact upon its practice and, importantly, how it is perceived both from within and outside the criminal justice system (CJS). The chapter begins by framing the role of community corrections, providing a snapshot of its current workload in Australia and how it fits within the broader corrections landscape. Following this, we consider its philosophical foundations (the “why”), examining how definitions, understandings and approaches have changed over time. The variety of sentencing options related to CBCs is also reviewed, including different types of supervision programs and correctional orders, with analysis of some meaningful and, arguably, controversial recent changes.

Ideas about the effective correction of offenders in the community have changed over the past decade. The most notable of which has been the rise of risk–need assessment frameworks and the subsequent expansion of rehabilitation efforts – alongside increased understanding of the need for them – to reduce reoffending. The next section of the chapter examines the factors shaping “what works” within contemporary practice of CBCs. Specifically, we will consider the “who, what and how?” of offender rehabilitation, as well as the challenges faced by CBCs (the “why not?”), focusing on the roles of risk assessments, public opinion, issues of legitimacy and developments in different kinds of offender treatment. In concluding the chapter, we consider future directions and pose a series of questions intended to provoke critical thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime and justice
Subtitle of host publicationA guide to criminology
EditorsDerek Dalton, Willem de Lint, Darren Palmer
PublisherThomson Lawbook Co.
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9780455244211
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • community-based corrections
  • sentencing options
  • probation
  • intermediate sanctions
  • parole
  • rehabilitation
  • risk–need–responsivity model


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