What is Court Link?
Court Link is a bail-based program giving short-term, individualised help to people charged with a criminal offence. The help given is based on the assessed levels of risk and need. Case management and/or referral to community support is given for needs such as substance use, mental illness, homelessness, employment, health and any other social issues.
Court Link is available in:
- Maroochydore and
- Mount Isa.
Getting help from the program
To be eligible, you must be on bail or be eligible for bail for an offence before a Magistrates Court and have one or more of the following issues:
- drug and alcohol use
- mental health problems
- impaired decision-making capacity
- homelessness and social issues.
You don't need to be pleading guilty to your charges to be eligible.
You may ask to be assessed for the program yourself or through your legal representation, family or others. Magistrates and police (including watch-house staff) may also make a referral. Participation is voluntary and there is no limit to the number of times a person may be referred to Court Link.
Where a person is already receiving case management elsewhere, for example through Probation and Parole or a mental health service provider, recommendations to participate in Court Link will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
What happens if I am eligible?
Court Link officers can give case management services for approximately 12 weeks to people assessed as having moderate to high risk needs. This will include working with the individual to develop a case plan and coordinating referrals to community-based services for support and help.
To participate in Court Link, participants must:
- follow all reasonable directions of their case manager in relation to their case plan
- make a genuine effort to engage with treatment and support services, their case manager and the court process
- attend any appointments as directed by the court or their case manager
- attend court as directed.
Which agencies are involved in Court link?
Court Link isn’t limited in the agencies that it can connect participants with. Some of the agencies that are involved include:
- Micah Projects
- Richmond Fellowship Queensland (RFQ)
- Brisbane Youth Service (BYS)
- Hart 4000
- Department of Health
- The Salvation Army.
Referral agencies are determined on an individualised basis according to participant's needs.
The purpose of the program
Court Link’s purpose is to give support and help to people in line with their risk of re-offending, their needs, and their ability and willingness to receive help.
The person should need help with issues that contribute to the frequency or severity of their offending. Addressing the issues that contribute to offending is intended to benefit the participant and lower their risk of re-offending.
A participant’s engagement with Court Link case management will be regularly monitored by the court. The Court Link court sits twice a month and Court appearances will be determined by the court. When a participant appears in court the Court Link officers will give participant progress updates to the presiding Magistrate.
Updates will be in the form of Court Link reports outlining participants’ progress. The court will give guidance and encouragement to help participants to reach their case plan goals. A final report will be given to the court at the final Court Link mention.
The court may consider a participant’s positive engagement when determining a sentence.
What happens if I fail to participate in the Court link process?
If participation in Court Link case management is confirmed by the court, a condition will be placed on the participant’s bail requiring program participation.
A participant’s engagement with Court Link case management will be regularly monitored by the court. Failure to engage and participate in Court Link case management may be reported to the court and result in removal from the program.
Failure to participate will not result in an offence under the Bail Act 1980 for breach of the participant’s bail.
Do I need legal advice?
You may need legal advice if you are considering participating in the Court Link program. We may give advice on most areas of Queensland criminal law.
The following services may also be able to give legal advice and help.
Community legal centres give free legal advice and information on criminal law. Contact them to see if they can help with your matter.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation on criminal law matters.
Interstate Legal Aid Commissions can provide information and advice on criminal charges or court appearances outside of Queensland.