A person can only be sentenced to jail time after the court is satisfied that no other penalty is appropriate for the crime charged. A judgment of conviction for an imprisonment of six months or less must include an explanation why no penalty other than imprisonment is imposed and why the accused was not placed in an intervention or rehabilitation program. The reason for this is that the first consideration of a court in a criminal case is whether there are other alternatives to imprisonment. A court treats imprisonment as the last option.
A conviction with imprisonment as a penalty not only affects the prisoner who has to serve out the penalty in jail but the family as well. The judgment may come as a shock from which the family needs time to recover but eventually, the practical aspects need to be dealt with by the family.
The first concern is to know which prison the convicted person will be serving his sentence. This is only practical since families are allowed to visit the prison. For inquiries, a family member can call Sentence Administration at (02) 8346 1000
If the prisoner has been transferred to another prison, inquiries may be made to this number: PH (02) 8346 1153. The prisoner may request or object to a transfer by filling out an application form and state therein his reasons. The reasons may be that the prison is too far which makes it difficult for family members to visit or the prisoner is afraid for his safety.
It is always best to call before visiting in prison just to check if the prisoner has not been transferred. By calling the jail directly, the family member can be informed of the rules like visiting hours or items that are allowed to be brought to jail. Family members can avail of low – cost bus services to country jails and to make inquiries or to book a seat, just call CRC at (02) 9288 8700 during business hours.
It is difficult to visit the jail sometimes that is why some family members just send money. Money is needed by prisoners to pay for their phone calls and order their basic needs. The family can send a money order (no cash or cheques) through the mail. The family member must enclose a letter stating the prisoner’s full name and MIN or date of birth and also ask for a receipt.
Family members who are concerned for the mental health of the prisoner may immediately phone the jail and talk to a medical personnel or officer-in-charge there. Otherwise, a family member may contact CRC on (02) 9288 8700.
It is hoped that somehow this difficult period will bring the family closer as a source of support for the prisoner and for each other.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.