Community Service is uncompensated labor, ordered by the Court to be performed by adult or juvenile offenders, who have committed offenses. This uncompensated labor is provided to non-profit organizations, charitable associations and federal, state or county institutions that request service. Through participation in the Somerset County Probation Department’s Community Service Program, the offender (1) provides reparative service to the communities and ensures some form of “payback” for the harm they have done, (2) improves self confidence, interpersonal skills, work ethics and gives offenders an opportunity to choose a more positive lifestyle through service to their community, (3) helps non-profit organizations stretch limited financial resources by providing workers at no cost and (4) assists taxpayers by providing manpower to public bodies to complete labor intensive projects without cost.
This approach is often termed
Balance and Restorative Justice since the offenders learn new skills, while repaying harm to the Community and working alongside community members.
WHERE DO OFFENDERS PERFORM COMMUNITY SERVICE WORK?
The Somerset County Community Service Program uses two types of work settings: individual work sites and supervised work crews. At individual work sites, program participants are placed directly with agencies based on skills, abilities, background, availability, and geographic location. These sites directly supervise the offenders while the Community Service Coordinator monitors the site to assure compliance by the offender and resolve any problems which may arise. Non-compliant workers are immediately removed from the work location. Due to the constant turnover of offenders, some work sites may remain in use a majority of the time. This necessitates the need for work placements throughout the county, for both short-term and on-going projects. Workers are provided to agencies on a continual basis dependant on their availability to the Somerset County Probation Department.
Supervised work crews are established as an alternative to individual work site placements. These work crews are comprised of four (4) to twelve (12) offenders and are available for larger work projects.
One common placement of supervised
work crews is at the
Home Chore, a partnership program between the Area Agency on Aging of Somerset County and the Probation Department, affords additional placement opportunities for work crews. This program permits community service workers to assist the elderly throughout the county by providing minor repair, lawn care and snow shoveling.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR PLACEMENT AT A WORK SITE/CREW?
Adult and Juvenile Community Service workers are referred to the Community Service Program from Magisterial District Judges, Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation and occasionally there are self-referrals from individuals attempting to fulfill hours ordered by out of state and out of county courts. There are approximately 150 juvenile and adult offenders referred to Community Service at any one time. Juvenile offenders also have the opportunity to make restitution to victims which is payable through the Volunteer Offender in Community Employment Program (V.O.I.C.E.) through completion of community service hours.
Once the Community Service Coordinator receives the referrals, which includes a specified number of labor hours, an attempt is made by the coordinator to match the offender’s skills and abilities with the need and circumstances of a receiving organization or agency, preferably within the offender’s neighborhood or community.
YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED
Citizens throughout the County
benefit greatly from this efficient cost-effective criminal justice
program. Offenders work thousands of
volunteer hours for public and charitable organizations that could not
otherwise afford to pay for these services.
Successful community service programs, however
require a true public-private partnership.
Residents in communities across
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For additional information please call Sean Dolan at: 814-445-1688 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org