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Community Service

What it is:

A release condition that requires people on supervision to perform unpaid work for a civic or nonprofit organization, such as a public library, a soup kitchen, or a conservation program.

How the court uses it:

     As punishment, to restrict the personal liberty of people on supervision and require them to forfeit leisure time.
     As rehabilitation, to instill a work ethic and help people on supervision develop interests and skills.

The officer's duties:

     Find agencies willing to work with individuals on supervision.
     Match individuals on supervision with suitable community service assignments.
     Visit the agency to monitor how community service is going and to resolve any problems.
     Take steps to control and correct the situation if individuals on supervision
          - don't show up to do their community service.
          - perform their community service assignment unsatisfactorily.
          - behave unacceptably while performing community service.
          - otherwise fail to comply with their release conditions.

The officer's challenges:

     Not all people on supervision are suitable for community service, including those with:
          - a drug or alcohol addiction.
          - a history of assault or sexual offenses.
          - serious emotional or psychological problems.

What the benefits are:

     Requires individuals on supervision to give something back to society.
     Gives them an opportunity to get work experience, job skills, and references.
     Gives the community free labor and provides services that otherwise might not be available due to lack of funding.