The philosophy behind community service as an alternative sentence is at least partially that providing services that benefit society is a more constructive way to punish perpetrators.
It is also thought to be a way to introduce the idea of ethical action into the value system of the perpetrator.
Community service refers to service that a person performs for the benefit of his or her local community. When we are talking about avoiding jail time after a drug charge, of course, the people performing this service have a very serious ulterior motive.
There's nothing wrong with this; worlds are moved on the strength of ulterior motives -- and there's no wrong reason to do the right thing.
People convicted of drug- or alcohol-related crimes do community service so they don't have to sit in a jailhouse. Period.
We believe community service is an ideal alternative sentencing technique used by justice systems throughout the United States and Europe.
If you are sentenced to community service, you might be surprised at the variety of options available to you. Many addicts and alcoholics are educated people with special skills who never have been asked to apply those skills for the greater good. And whether you really want to or not, now is your chance to do some good and stay out of jail at the same time!
Examples of community service projects include (but are not limited to):
- collecting much needed items including clothes, shoes, food, blankets, etc.;
- getting involved with Habitat for Humanity;
- helping other newly-reovering people how to prepare a budget;
- public speaking & awareness-raising;
- fundraising for a charity of your choice;
- reading to the elderly in nursing homes;
- helping out a local fire or police department;
- performing health assessments;
- helping out at a local library;
- teaching English to immigrants; and
- tutoring developmentally disabled children for free.
With community service, individuals perform charitable services either entirely or partly in lieu of other judicial remedies and penalties.
For instance, a fine may be reduced in exchange for a prescribed number of hours of community service.
Sober Champion can help communicate with your attorney so you can choose your own, ideal community service. We can help you try to avoid being ordered by the judge to perform certain services or work for certain agencies.
Sometimes the sentencing is specifically targeted to the subject's transgression; a drunk driver might to appear before school groups to explain why drunk driving is a crime and an ethical breach; a drug conviction might lead to some other form of service.
Community service is only one of a variety of alternative sentencing techniques designed to be more effective at reforming perpetrators, to reduce recidivism, to benefit society, and to reduce the overall cost to society of sentencing criminals.