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Community Court and community based sentences

Cases suitable for community based sentences (CBS) are generally sent to the Community Court for management. These cases include those involving:

  • Offenders aged 16 to 18 years.
  • Offenders below 21 years old who have been accused of theft, violence, sex, gambling or drug related offences.
  • Offenders with mental disorders (selected cases only).
  • Offenders who are 65 years old and above (selected cases only).
  • Offenders with chronic addiction problems (selected cases only).
  • Attempted suicide.
  • Family violence.
  • Shop theft.
  • Abuse and cruelty to animals.
  • Impact to race relations.
Note

In general, CBS cannot be imposed if your case falls within the scenarios set out in Section 337(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. If you are unsure whether your case qualifies for CBS, you may check with the judge.

Types of community based sentences

CBS were introduced in 2010 to give the courts more sentencing options for minor offences. This means the courts can consider CBS in appropriate cases instead of traditional sentences such as imprisonment or a fine.

If you successfully complete your CBS, the offence of which you were convicted will be removed from your criminal record.

The following CBS can be made by the court:

A mandatory treatment order (MTO) directs an offender suffering from certain treatable psychiatric conditions to undergo treatment for a period of no longer than 36 months.

Before the court can consider an MTO as an appropriate sentence, the judge will call for a report from an appointed psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Tip

The Director of Medical Services from the Ministry of Health may appoint any psychiatrist to be an appointed psychiatrist.

You may also appoint your own psychiatrist to make a report. However, this report must be submitted to the court-appointed psychiatrist who will take it into consideration.

The court may make an MTO only if the report states all of the following:

  • You are suffering from a psychiatric condition which is susceptible to treatment.
  • You are suitable for the treatment.
  • Your psychiatric condition is one of the contributing factors for committing the offence.

This report made by the appointed psychiatrist will be considered final and conclusive in its findings. You will also be given a copy of the report.

If the court decides that an MTO may be appropriate, the court will then explain the following before making the order:

  • The purpose, effect and obligations of the order.
  • The consequences of failing to comply with the obligations or conditions imposed.
  • The court has the power to vary or revoke the order on the application of the appointed psychiatrist.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes Section 339 to 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A day reporting order (DRO) requires the offender to report to a day reporting centre for monitoring, counselling and rehabilitation programmes. It is handled by the Singapore Prison Service and the order can range from 3 to 12 months.

Before the court can consider a DRO as an appropriate sentence, the judge will:

  • Consider your character.
  • Consider the nature of your offence.
  • Call for a report from a day reporting officer on the possible effects of counselling and rehabilitation on you.

If the court decides that a DRO may be appropriate, the court will then explain the following before making the order:

  • The purpose, effect and obligations of the DRO.
  • The consequences of failing to comply with the DRO.
  • The court has the power to vary or revoke the order on the application of the day reporting officer.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes Section 341 to 343 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A community work order (CWO) requires the offender to perform community work associated with the offence committed. This work is unpaid and will be supervised by a community work officer.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes Section 344 to 345 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A community service order (CSO) requires offenders to perform unpaid community service under the supervision of an authorised officer.

Before making a CSO, the court will:

  • Call for a report to assess your suitability to perform community service.
  • Determine if it will allow you to be reformed.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes Section 344 to 347 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A short detention order (SDO) requires the offender to be detained in prison for a period not exceeding 14 days. It acts as a deterrent by allowing the offender to experience prison life.

Before making a SDO, the court will consider:

  • Your character.
  • The circumstances of your case.
  • The nature of your offence.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes Section 348 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more
2021/07/23

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