To provide a sentencing alternative for judges: Once an offender in incarcerated his/her family may become financially and emotionally unstable. The offender can no longer provide for the family, which may cause the family to become Social Service recipients. Therefore, taxpayers are not only paying for the offender’s imprisonment, but also for the family’s welfare.
If payment of a fine is ordered, the offender’s financial status may be stressed in cases on indigence and for those in a financially secure situation, a fine is not an inconvenience, therefore, there is no punishment.
In a traffic case where revocation of a driver’s license may seem appropriate, the offender may no longer have transportation to his/her place of employment, school, medical facilities, etc.
Community Service provides an alternative to Judges so that such hardships may be avoided in selected cases. At the Judge’s discretion, non-violent offenders may instead be offered the opportunity to contribute a designated number of hours of unpaid Community Service work.
Reduce the Jail population: By sentencing non-violent offenders to complete Community Service in lieu of Jail time, local Jails can make better use of their limited space to house the serious, repeat, and violent offenders.
To enable offenders to continue to meet family, employment and academic obligations: One of the basic objectives of the program is to schedule Community Service work assignment so that it does not conflict with the offender’s employment, school, or counseling obligations. This is done by inquiring as to employment and/or academic schedules, etc. For instance, if a volunteer is employed from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, service work is expected to be contributed in the evening and/or weekends. In consideration of the volunteer’s personal obligations, the Community Service Program requires that an average of eight hours per week of service be contributed for those employed and/or in school on a full-time basis.
To utilize the work as a rehabilitation tool: By introducing clients to non-profit organizations and agencies, they learn about services that are provided to the community in which may also be of use to them. The volunteers are required to be reliable, cooperative, and hard working during their participation in the Alternative Sentencing Program. Some volunteers’ life styles have not been structured in such a way as to be able to do so. In this program, they must overcome certain non-productive attitudes such as; failure to show for work, constant tardiness, poor work quality and being uncooperative.
Failure to do so results in termination from the program. It is hoped that deprivation of leisure time and a commitment to labor will have a significant impact on the volunteers in not wanting to get involved in criminal acts again. In some cases, volunteers meet people through their service work who are supportive of their individual social, economic, and emotional needs, which may offer the clients some needed support and guidance.
Looking ahead, the Alternative Sentencing Program can anticipate a continued growth in the number of Community Service clients it serves. The Alternative Sentencing Program hopes to enlist continued community support and to be able to even better serve the community with the volunteer’s services.
- To supply staffing to public and non-profit agencies: Thousands of persons have been referred to the Alternative Sentencing Program to complete numerous hours of volunteer service. All work-sites that receive these volunteers are public and private non-profit agencies. There are a number of work-sites in and around the area and new agencies and organizations are constantly being sought. There are substantial savings to the taxpayers for Community Service work.