In this form of community service, people convicted of crimes are required to perform community services or to work for agencies in the sentencing jurisdiction either entirely or partly in lieu of other judicial remedies and sanctions, such as incarceration or fines.
For instance, a fine may be reduced in exchange for a prescribed number of hours of community service. The court may allow the convict to choose their community service, which then must be documented by "credible agencies", such as non-profit organizations, or may mandate a specific service.
Sometimes the sentencing is specifically targeted to the convict's crime, for example, a litterer may have to clean a park or roadside, or a drunk driver might appear before school groups to explain why drunk driving is a crime. Also, a sentence allowing for a broader choice may nonetheless disallow certain services that the offender would reasonably be expected to perform anyway; for example, a convicted lawyer might be specifically prohibited from counting pro bono legal services.
Most jurisdictions in the United States have programs by which the court may require minor offenders to perform work for city or county agencies under the supervision of the police or sheriff department, often on weekends, as an alternative to confinement in jail. Jail and prison inmates are also typically used for labor either in the jail or at outside work that benefits society, such as in light manufacturing, repair work, office work, on labor camps or farms, on chain gangs or on land conservation projects. This is, however, more properly considered a form of penal labor than community service.
At least part of the philosophy behind this kind of sentencing is that providing a service to the community is more beneficial than punishment for its own sake. Through community service, the community sees a benefit while saving the costs associated with incarceration of the convict and having the work carried out by paid staff. It is also thought to be a way to educate convicts on what constitutes ethically acceptable behavior.
Read more about this topic: Community Service
Famous quotes containing the word alternative:
“It is a secret from nobody that the famous random event is most likely to arise from those parts of the world where the old adage There is no alternative to victory retains a high degree of plausibility.”
—Hannah Arendt (19061975)