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  • Good Behaviour Order in the Northern Territory (NT)

    Among the many sentencing options available to the NT courts, one of them is to order a Good Behaviour Period on the offender. The Good Behaviour Order is not an attempt by the court to trivialize the order but to subject the offender to the necessary and fair punishments for their "lesser" crimes.

    Even when an offender is granted a Good Behaviour Bond, they must still pay any of the imposed fines or damages the court orders.

    Good Behaviour Bonds in the Northern Territory are in line with similar practices in other States and Territories but have peculiar legislation regarding the State.

    What is a Good Behaviour Order in NT?

    Part 3 of the NT Crimes (Sentences) Act guides the issuance of a Good Behaviour (Conditional Discharge) Program to offenders in the NT. It translates to a non-custodial sentence in the NT, where they will be supervised by a probation or parole officer over the entire duration of the bond.

    The Good Behaviour Bond is a promise of a convicted person to be of good behaviour henceforth, especially for a given period. It is brokered and monitored by the court through Parole officers, and ends through successful completion of a breach.

    When an offender is issued a Good Behaviour Bond, they must fulfil all the conditions stipulated in the Act, plus any of the conditions given at the court. The Part 3 also contains special punishments for defaulters

    The Good behaviour Order may be withdrawn, cancelled or amended at any time during the program if the Court concludes the offender to be guilty of a breach.

    However, at the end of the Good Behaviour Period, the offender may have their jail term suspended, or cancelled.

    How can the offender keep the conditions of a Good Behaviour Bond?

    If an offender is issued with a Good behaviour Bond as an alternative to their convictions sentencing, they must abide by every condition stipulated in the agreement. These conditions must be read and explained before the offender accepts or refuses the term.

    The offender must;

    • Follow all the directives and instructions of their parole officers
    • Report and receive visits from their parole officers over their assignments
    • Attend programs or counselling sessions as directed by their parole officers in their program
    • Inform their parole officers of any change in their contact, address or other info within 2 working days of the change
    • Follow all other necessary conditions stated by the court

    What a person on a Good Behaviour Program must avoid

    The Good Behaviour Program in the NT is a promise to the State that you will be of good behaviour during that time. Hence an offender on this program must avoid;

    • Getting another conviction while on the order
    • Leave the Northern Territory (NT) without the permission of their probation or parole officer
    • Break any of the law while on the order
    • Breach the conditions of the order
    • Refuse summons to court or parole officer when required
    • Places or persons the court has ordered them to avoid

    Breaches of a good behaviour bond may translate into a criminal record and therefore appear on your criminal record check certificate.

    How does the Court place a person on a Good Behaviour Order?

    When the court finds a person guilty of an offence, they impose the prescribed punishments as stated in the law. However, the NT Court may - consider some factors and grant the offender a rehab route through a Good behaviour Bond.

    On accepting the Good Behaviour order, the court gives a copy of the order to the offender. It outlines the conditions they must comply with. It also includes details of the correctional facility that will handle their case.

    The offender must report to the Community corrections office listed in the order within 2 working days. There they will be assigned a probation or parole officer.

    What does a Parole officer do in a Good Behaviour Bond?

    Your Parole officer is the “eyes and ears” of the State and an “adviser” to you throughout the program. It will be almost difficult to go through a Good Behaviour Program without their help.

    So an offender must always discuss difficult circumstances about their program with their parole officer.

    A parole officer;

    • Explains in clear and simple detail the conditions in the order and make sure they understand it
    • Explains the necessary conditions of the order
    • If a condition of attending development or evaluation programs is included, the parole officer helps the offender picks the best choice
    • Journeys through the program with the offender and help them live better onwards

    I cannot attend my Parole appointment

    If for some "serious" reasons the offender cannot attend their program, they must notify the parole officers. However, depending on the circumstance, the offender may have to present some sort of evidence like a Doctor’s Certificate or letter from their employer.

    What happens if a person does not follow the order of their conviction?

    Failure to obey the directives of your parole or probation officer may lead to a court summons. Your Parole officer may report you to the court, and you will have to appear at the court to defend your actions.

    The court will only take extra actions when you apply/fail to apply for the court summons.

    If the court charge on the breach is a serious one (another serious offence), you should contact a lawyer.

    Why does the Court impose special conditions?

    If the court releases the individual under subdivisions 3 and 4 of Part 3 of the NT Crimes (Sentencing) Act, the court may impose extra conditions.

    These conditions are not a form of punishment or restrictions. They are instead programs that help to rehabilitate the individual and re-integrate them back to society.

    Some of them include;

    • Educational Centers
    • Psychiatric evaluation centres
    • Emotional counselling (anger management, and co)

    What should I do if I cannot meet certain conditions?

    Sometimes, health, change in circumstances or laws may make it impossible for an offender to meet the conditions of their Good Behaviour Bonds.

    If an offender under the bond discovers some hampering conditions or orders, they should apply immediately to the court and their parole officers.

    Offenders should also contact their lawyers to convince the court to substitute or change the terms of their conditions.

    Wrapping Up - Why a Good Behaviour Bond?

    If the Court issues you a Good Behaviour Bond, it may mean;

    • Suspended or cancelled sentence
    • A substitute for your jail term

    Such offences may not always show up on a Police Check NT (it depends on the circumstances around such offences).

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