Often the best way to get on top of the complex issues in life is to join a team.
This is why we provide people before our court, and those on community corrections orders the opportunity to bring together their very own problem solving team.
We call it the Problem Solving Process.
In essence the process is a meeting.
At the meeting the the offender, their lawyer, case workers (or Correctional case manager), even a supportive family member or friend develop practical activities to address the circumstances in the offender's life that, left untreated, will hamper reform and rehabilitation.
Convened by our Neighbourhood Justice Officer, the process is a brief, intensive intervention that:
- Prepares the person to start treatment and support programs
- Gets them back on track if circumstances in their lives disrupt their progress on existing treatment and support programs.
It's a voluntary process. You get as much out of it as you put in, which is why we ensure that everyone who participates is willing to bring their best intentions and ideas to the table.
The Neighbourhood Justice Officer runs the Problem Solving Process from beginning (assessment) to end (report back to court).
The NJO convenes the Problem Solving Meeting and manages the links between the court, services, the client and the client's lawyer.
Typically clients are referred by their duty lawyer, the Magistrate, or Corrections case manager.
Participants are drawn from the following:
- Plead guilty (or formally state their intention to do so)
- Bail applicants
- On Community Corrections Order (CCO) and risk breaching the order
- On a CCO and have breached but show willingness to participate
It's also available to people who have completed a custodial sentence and are returning to the community.
No matter where you are in the justice process, if you think this process will help you, talk to our Neighbourhood Justice Officer. Call 9948 8600.
Number of meetings required
It usually takes one meeting, but we'll organise follow-up sessions if that's in your best interests.
Meetings happen at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre.
Find out more
We encourage our clients or their family or friends to talk to our Neighbourhood Justice Officer about this process.
To organise to speak to the NJO call 9948 8777
About our Neighbourhood Justice Officer
The Neighbourhood Justice Officer is a member of our Registry team who works with offenders and victims, and members of the community involved in a court matter.
The NJO is a bridge that links client, court, and services, and as well as assisting with service referrals, the NJO runs our Problem Solving Process.
We're the only court in Australia to offer this service.
Mark* breached his Community Corrections Order (CCO) when he further offended.
By this time he'd given up on the treatment programs he'd started at the NJC in the lead up to his court hearing, and long periods of memory lapse and other cognitive difficulties were getting worse.
For over twenty years Mark had a serious drug and alcohol habit. Disengaged from from heath and social services, he'd tried to detox himself off the prescription drug Xanax, but this brought on debilitating insomnia and restlessness which compounded his already deteriorating mental health.
With a possible jail term for breaching the CCO looming over his head, Mark agreed to his lawyers recommendation that he participate in the NJC's Problem Solving Meeting as the first step back to treatment.
The Problem Solving Meeting is highly collaborative and as it draws on trust as much as it does professional assistance, Mark's girlfriend participated along with his Community Corrections case manager, lawyer and the NJO.
Over nearly two hours, Mark spoke of the high and lows of the past twenty years, and of his desire to feel mentally stable, meet his basic needs, and reunite with his sister and mother from whom he'd been estranged for over a decade.
As meetings focus of developing practical, achievable activities to help NJC clients back on their feet, Mark and his team drew up a realistic plan to reconnect Mark to health services in his community.
Mark added two very personal, goals: he'd hard to be honest with the people who matter to him, and he'd write to mother and ask her for a chance to reconcile their relationship.
He followed through with all the commitments he made.
Ultimately, the Court placed Mark back on a Community Corrections Order, which he successfully completed with no further offending.
*Not his real name.