Another important sentencing option is the good behaviour bond.
This is a sentence option under which a person found guilty of an offence promises to be of good behaviour for a stipulated period. The bond may or may not be subject to supervision, and is usually sanctioned by forfeiture of a stipulated sum of money.
In the Youth Court an order in these terms is referred to as an "obligation" [see Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 26].
A good behaviour bond can be imposed upon a defendant without imposing any further penalty, and with or without recording a conviction [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) s 39(1)]. The term of a good behaviour bond must not exceed three years [see s 40]. In order to impose a bond the Court must first be satisfied that good reason exists for doing so [see s 39(1)].
Aside from a condition that the defendant be of good behaviour, the Court may impose any other condition so long as the bond retains a requirement that the defendant appears in court for sentence should there be a breach of bond during the term of the bond [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) ss 39(1)(ab), s 39(1)(b) and s 39(1a)]. A person cannot be called upon for sentence for the original offence, where that is not an express term in the bond.
The conditions which may be included in a good behaviour bond are:
- payment of a specified sum of money by the defendant for failure to comply with the bond [see s 41(1)(a)];
- one or more guarantors to guarantee the defendant’s compliance with the conditions of the bond [see s 41(1)(b)];
- payment of a specified sum of money by the guarantor(s) in the event of the defendant’s non-compliance with a condition of the bond [see ss 41(1)(b) and 41(2)]. In practice it is extremely rare for a court to require a bond guarantor;
- the defendant be under the supervision of a community corrections officer for a specified period of time [see s 42(1)(a)];
- the defendant reside (or not reside) with a specific person or at a specific address [see ss 42(1)(b) and 42(1)(c); s 42(2) for suitable accommodation requirement];
- performance of community service [see s 42(1)(d)];
- undertake an intervention program, or medical or psychiatric treatment [see ss 42(1)(da) and 42(1)(e); s 42(3) for treatment to be recommended by a legally qualified practitioner; s 42(6) for conditions regarding intervention program; s 42(7) for assessment orders; s 42(8) for certification of intervention program requirements];
- abstain from a specified class of drugs or alcohol [see s 42(1)(f)];
- restore misappropriated property or pay compensation for injury, loss or damage resulting from the offence [see s 42(1)(g)];
- attend and complete a specified education program [see s 42(1)(ga); s 42(5) for education program];
- any other condition the court thinks appropriate [see s 42(1)(h)].
- order the defendant and/or guarantor to pay the sum of money stipulated for non- compliance [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 ss 58(1)(a) and s 58(1)(b); s 58(2) for means to pay and welfare of dependants];
- sentence the defendant for the original offence, or convict and then sentence [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 s 58(c)(i)];
- refrain from taking any action at all where the Court is satisfied the breach was trivial or there are proper grounds to excuse it [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 s 58(1)(c)(ii)].
Where a court other than the probative court sentences a probationer for the original offence, that court cannot impose a sentence that the probative court could not have imposed [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 58(5)]. This would apply to a bond with a condition that the probationer return to court for sentence should a condition of the bond be breached. The probative court is the court that made the original bond order [see s 3 for definition of probative court].
The Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) was amended in 1993 to give courts the power to send offenders to such education programs as approved by the Attorney-General for the offence for which the defendant was found guilty, as a condition of a bond [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) ss 42(1)(ga) and 42(5)]. If they agree, an offender can be sent to such a program at their own cost [see s 42(5)(c)]. To date the only such program aimed to address a particular category of offending was one which attempted to “re-educate” those appearing for shoplifting. This program is no longer available.
The Department for Correctional Services currently offers a number of education programs which are available for those people subject to supervised bonds and which are designed to address the criminogenic needs of offenders. The programs available are:
- Cognitive skills
- Alcohol and other drugs
- Literacy and numeracy
- Anger management
- Victim awareness
- Domestic violence
- Sex offender treatment