The Court Integrated Services Program (‘CISP’) is a program that was established in 2006 at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and Sunshine Magistrates’ Court but has since been rolled out state wide. It is now being piloted in the County Court of Victoria for more serious crimes.
It is a bail support service that identifies what services people need and then links them into the community whilst on bail. This could include:
- Drug and alcohol support services;
- Crisis and supported accommodation;
- Disability and mental health services;
- Acquired brain injury services (neuropsychological reports); and
- Koori specific services.
Often people who have been charged with crimes have issues with drugs or homelessness or are experiencing family violence. When preparing for a bail application, CISP can be a useful program to enrol to make the most effective bail application possible. The aim is to address the core issues of the offending and reduce the chances of someone committing further crime. CISP is just one factor a magistrate has to consider when deciding whether to grant bail or not. CISP is a state funded resource and you must first be assessed by CISP to see if you are suitable for it. Usually this occurs in custody before the bail application.
Please remember that each case and individual circumstances is different and during the CISP interview they will assess whether you are suitable for the program.
If you are released on CISP you will be given various appointments that you must attend. During COVID-19 some of these appointments are over the phone or in person. You must attend these appointments, or you could be exited from the program.
The CISP case manager is there to work as a caseworker and will link you in to various support services depending on your needs. Each month, your CISP caseworker prepares a report to the Court as to how you have been going. The magistrate will then decide whether to keep you on the program or not. This only becomes an issue if there have been multiple appointments missed or skipped or further re-offending. If you have not taken the opportunity of CISP, a Magistrate must consider whether to place you back into custody.
If you are on CISP, your caseworker should be your first point of contact. They are there to help you and link you in to the right services. The CISP program can go for up to four months and can really help people get their lives “back on track”. At Marshall Jovanovska Ralph (MJR) Criminal Lawyers we have seen thousands of people turn their lives around due to the involvement of CISP.
If you have successfully completed CISP then this is a really good sign and the Courts generally take a very favourable view of a successfully completed CISP episode. This is because it shows that you can maintain appointments, not re-offend and can be trusted to do certain things that the Court asks of you.
It may be that your case resolves into a plea of guilty at the end of the CISP program. A successfully completed CISP program is a good indicator to the court that your prospects of rehabilitation are good. If you cannot complete the CISP program then the Court will be doubtful as to your prospects of rehabilitation. So do your best and treat the CISP workers and program with respect. If you are on CISP, make the most of it and put in the time and effort. It may be the thing that stops you from going back to custody.
If you have a family member, loved on or friend on remand and think they could benefit from CISP please do not hesitate to contact MJR Criminal Lawyers on 9311 8500.