Community Service - Worldwide Examples

Worldwide Examples

Community service in the United States is often similar to that in Canada. In Europe and Australia, community service is an option for many criminal sentences as an alternative to incarceration. In the United Kingdom, community service is now officially referred to by the Home Office as more straightforward "compulsory unpaid work". Compulsory unpaid work includes up to 300 hours of activities, such as conservation work, cleaning up graffiti, or working with a charity. The Howard League for Penal Reform (the world's oldest prison reform organisation) is a prominent advocate for the increased use of community sentencing in order to reduce the prison population and improve the rehabilitation of those sentenced for criminal activity.

Starting in 2010, Danish High School students will receive a special diploma if they complete at least 20 hours of voluntary work.

The International Baccalaureate program requires 50 hours of community service, together with a written reflection on the service performed, to fulfill the requirement of 150 hours of CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) and receive an IB Diploma.

In the United Kingdom people are sentenced to community service if they have claimed state benefits for longer than 6 months. The scheme is dubbed "the community action programme" and users are required to work (a literary formality to avoid employment minimum/non payment laws) in what is referred to as "mandatory volunteering" as part of a so called "work based activity". Subjects can be required to work for as much as six months at forty hours per week for as little as sixty pounds sterling per week or face strict benefit sanctions of up to three years.

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