Court Integrated Services Program

The Court Integrated Services Program (CISP) offers a coordinated approach to the assessment and treatment of accused persons.

CISP focuses on proactive ways to address underlying causes of offending behaviour, providing case management support and linking program participants to support services such as:

  • drug and alcohol treatment services
  • crisis and supported accommodation
  • people with disability
  • mental health needs
  • cognitive impairment including acquired brain injury.

People referred to the CISP program are required to undergo a formal risk assessment and screening process as part of their entry. If deemed suitable and accepted, they are engaged with a CISP advanced case manager who coordinates their treatment, provides regular case management, documents their progress, and provides written reports to the Court.

For further information on CISP in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, visit their Bail support (CISP) webpage.

Key features of the County Court CISP Pilot

The Court's CISP Pilot brings to the County Court the essential elements of the CISP program that has operated for more than a decade in the Magistrates' Court. There are, however, aspects of the Court's CISP Pilot initiative that are specific to its status as a pilot program. In addition, as it assists people with matters in the indictable stream, it has some features that are purpose-designed for working specifically with those accused of serious indictable offences. These features include:

  • case management provided by advanced case managers with suitable training and expertise to work with people facing charges in the indictable stream
  • case management available throughout all stages of the court process with participants being able to exit and re-enter CISP if their needs or risk profile changes while before the Court.
  • onsite drug and alcohol counselling services.

People referred to the CISP Pilot can access the Court's CISP upon making a bail application, bail variation, plea of guilty or deferral of sentence in the Court.

Regular CISP review hearings are presided over by judicial officers in the jurisdiction in which the matter is currently listed

Responsive case management

The duration of CISP involvement at the Court can go up to eight months, depending on the specific risk factors and support needs of the individual. There may be times when more or less intensive case management and service support is required based on the participant's risk and needs. This approach is taken to ensure support is flexible and responsive to participant.

Exit from CISP

Participants can exit from CISP and have CISP removed as a condition of bail by a judicial officer. This can happen in a number of circumstances, for example, if the participant is not complying with their CISP bail conditions or if their needs and risk factors have been satisfactorily addressed. A person can also re-enter CISP and have CISP added as a bail condition if circumstances change and additional support is required.

Eligibility

People referred to CISP receive an assessment of their risk of re-offending and information is provided regarding their support needs and treatment options. The process is designed to meet the needs of the participant and the Court.

In order to be eligible for CISP, accused persons must:

  • not currently be sentenced to a parole or community corrections order
  • be eligible for bail or a relevant deferral of sentencing
  • have substantive matters committed to the Melbourne County Court
  • reside, or intend to reside, in the greater Melbourne metropolitan catchment
  • consent to be involved with CISP
  • be experiencing one or more of the following:
    • mental health issues
    • disability, acquired brain injury or cognitive impairment
    • substance abuse issues
    • family violence
    • inadequate social, family and economic support that contributes to the frequency or severity of their offending
    • homelessness
    • other relevant clinical support need.

Exclusions

People accused of sex offences are ineligible for the program. People with prior convictions for serious sex offences are also ineligible for the Pilot.

If a person's support needs are so significant that they may reasonably be unable to comply with the program requirements, then a recommendation is made to the Court around the most appropriate treatment and support pathway.

Program benefits

A three year evaluation of CISP conducted by the University of Melbourne made several significant findings, including:

  • a significant improvement to the physical and mental wellbeing of participants
  • increased compliance with community correction orders
  • reduced risk of re-offending
  • reduced harm to the community
  • cost savings to the government through reduced nights in prison for offenders and reduced re-offending.

How to make a referral

To make a referral to the Court, a CISP referral form must be completed. Self-referrals can be submitted by email to CISP@countycourt.vic.gov.au. Legal practitioners wishing to make a referral must submit the referral form together with supporting documentation using eLodgement.

To make a CISP referral to the Magistrates' Court of Victoria, please follow the steps provided on the their Bail support (CISP) webpage.

Contact

For any enquiries relating to CISP, phone 03 8636 6820 or email: CISP@countycourt.vic.gov.au.

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Page last updated: 31 March 2021