Correction & Justice Services

Community Service Order (CSO) Program 

Judges these days are regularly sentencing offenders to do community service work instead of jail. It’s a win-win for offenders and society at large – and certainly more productive than doing time behind bars.

If you have a brush with the law, a judge could order you to do a set amount of community service hours. The judge then refers your file to a probation officer. Your next step will be to meet with a CSO caseworker.

There are more than 100 nonprofit CSO placement agencies – including the Ottawa Booth Centre – throughout the province. Our case worker will meet with you and ask questions about your work history.

The case worker assesses your skills and matches you with a suitable community volunteer placement.

The CSO worker will ask about your:

  • current and past offences
  • special skills and previous work experience
  • number of CSO hours to be served
  • community service completion date

Some agencies prefer working with certain types of offenders. The CSO Program does its utmost to satisfy agency requests.

CSO Program Objectives

  • provide society with a community-based sentencing option that is cost- efficient and non-threatening to public safety
  • involve the community in the criminal justice system in a way that benefits you and the community
  • motivate offenders to behave responsibly in your community and reduce the likelihood you will re-offend

Electronic Supervision Program (ESP)

Electronic monitoring of offenders is a powerful tool for the justice system. It helps reduce the number of people in prison. It also ensures that those under house arrest obey the conditions of their sentence.

If you are put under house arrest, under the ESP, here’s how it works. An electronic brace is fitted around your ankle and a monitoring unit is installed in your residence. It measures the distance of the brace to the monitoring unit.

If you step outside the range of the monitoring unit, an alarm goes off alerting the police. In Ontario, ESP enables the authorities to vigilantly monitor offenders who are partly serving their sentence in the community. ESP is:

  • Imposed either by your sentencing judge or the Ontario Parole and Earned Release Board.
  • a condition imposed on offenders considered unlikely to re-offend.
  • meant to monitor compliance by offenders considered suitable for community placement.

Intermittent Community Work Program (ICWP)

The Intermittent Community Work Program (ICWP) is a sentencing option open to some adult male offenders. Offenders are ineligible if they have a history of sex offences or have committed an offence involving domestic violence.

The program enables eligible offenders to do their regular jobs during the regular work week. On the weekend they do community work instead of being locked up in jail.

The program is supported by several hundred community agencies throughout the province. The agencies’ role is to identify work opportunities for offenders seeking intermittent/weekend sentences.

Under ICWP you have the freedom to work throughout the week and are expected to:

  • – report to a designated jail to inquire about program information
  • – do your community assignment on the days set out in your sentence
  • report home every day, after your work assignment

Enforcement officials randomly telephone participants to ensure they are at home. So you must have a land line for officials to be able to call you.

You are considered to be under house arrest until the end of the day. This condition is monitored by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). You will be supervised during your assignment by a non-profit agency, such as the Salvation Army.

Pre-Charge Diversion Program

The Pre-Charge Diversion Program is a means for offenders to avoid the harmful effects of jail and a criminal record. Diversion also reduces the demands on law enforcement and the court system. The program covers Adult Pre-Charge Diversion, Shop-Theft Protocol and John School Seminars.

  • Adult Pre-Charge Diversion (Ottawa Police referrals) –  If you are arrested for a minor offence such as mischief, theft or fraud, this program is for you. Instead of facing charges, you will be referred to pre-charge diversion. You will not be given a sentence. Instead, you will perform tasks that force you to confront the behavior that led to your arrest.

  • Shop-Theft Protocol (STP) –  If you are arrested for shoplifting by store security personnel, the Shop-Theft Protocol is a program for you. It enables you to avoid jail and a criminal record. Instead you are referred to the STP diversion office. There you will be assigned tasks that address the underlying behavior that caused you to shoplift. The STP is based on an arrangement between the Ottawa Police, retail store outlets and the pre-charge office. A large number of cases are also referred to the program by special constables or by members of the OC Transpo transit authority.

  • John School Seminars – This educational seminar is designed to provide an informative view into the lot of street engaged sex-workers. Various speakers present on the risks of sex work and its impact on the community. Speakers include:
    – the police
    – a crown prosecutor
    – a public health nurse
    – a former sex-worker and
    – members of the community

The program enables so-called “Johns” to avoid the criminal justice system. It provides services and benefits to:

– the offender
– the justice system
– the community

By diverting minor offences, the program enables offenders to come to terms with their behaviour, and correct it. The public in turn benefits from the decrease of such behaviour. The offender benefits by avoiding the haunting stigma of a criminal record.