Jasmine is a first year Griffith University student studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science and a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Although Jasmine is interested in every aspect of the law, she has a keen interest in youth justice and corrective services. Jasmine spent the day at Beenleigh Probation and Parole Office and the Beenleigh Courthouse where she learnt more about the Queensland Corrective Services Court Advisory Officer role. This role provides a high level of accurate and consistent information and advice to courts on the suitability of offenders for community-based orders.
For my justice journey, I was lucky enough to spend the day job shadowing the Court Advisory Officer from the Beenleigh Probation and Parole Office.
Within Queensland Corrective Services (QCS), Probation and Parole is responsible for the supervision of offenders serving community-based orders.
The day began by meeting a fellow student who was joining me for the job shadowing experience. We discussed that although we both had exposure to the justice system due to our studies we have never given much thought to the role of the Probation and Parole service. We were very eager to learn more about this important sector of the justice system.
We were welcomed into the office and introduced to the District Manager of the Beenleigh Probation and Parole Office, who gave us an important overview of their role and vision. She also discussed the legislation which governs their work and how we will see the influence of this legislation in court.
We were then escorted to the Beenleigh Courthouse where we meet with the Court Advisory Officer. It wasn’t long before we realised that the Court Advisory Officer – who works for QCS – has a multitude of important responsibilities.
The Court Advisory officer invited us to sit in while she completed a pre-sentence report on an offender. A pre-sentence report is conducted generally at the request of the Magistrate or Judge who is considering the various sentencing options for an offender. The Court Advisory Officer asked the offender many questions to analyse the offender’s suitability to the different type of orders available.
Then we sat in on various matters within the courtroom, many of which the Magistrate called on the Court Advisory Officer to discuss community-based order option and rehabilitation programs. For instance, when the Magistrate was considering sentencing options for an offender who had repeatedly been charged with drink driving. The Court Advisory Officer was able to recommend a probation order which included a condition to attend an alcohol-related rehabilitation program.
Another role of the Court Advisory Officer is to represent the Agency in the prosecution of community-based order contraventions in the Magistrates courts. To do this, the Court Advisory Officer has to prepare all the necessary paperwork and bring it in front of the Magistrate. It should be noted though that the Probation and Parole Service consider bringing the contravention before the court as the last resort. They initiate extensive contravention management measures within their own office to attempt to help the offender complete their order successfully. As staff from the Probation and Parole Service said they’re there to help the offenders complete their order and truly make a change in their lives to help them get back on the right path.
Once the work at court was completed we returned to the office and discussed the matters which we had seen. The Court Advisory Officer also explained the important last step of the day which is recording all of the court outcomes.
The experience of job shadowing the Court Advisory Officer from Probation and Parole was informative, inspiring and immensely valuable. It truly opened my eyes to the important role that Probation and Parole plays within our justice system.