Theme: Relentless Creativity
The Justice Services Department’s Community Service Unit is responsible for placing and supervising adult and juvenile offenders who are ordered by the court to provide useful public service as a part of their sentence.
The status quo across the nation is that offenders are placed in work crews or with various agencies to provide labor – think roadside trash pick-up, janitorial work or stocking shelves. The widely accepted, age-old intention of this community service work is to punish and deter; the more grueling and tedious, the work, the better.
Fast-forward to 2016, “the way we’ve always done it before” just wasn’t working out.
With goals in mind to 1) improve public safety and quality of life for citizens and 2) to provide opportunities for offenders to demonstrate potential as contributing members of society, “Community Service Plus” was born.
Community Service Plus is a new program that encourages offenders to fulfill their community service hours by engaging in meaningful work or education that benefits them and their community. The program consists of a network of educational and community projects focused on the offenders’ personal development and contribution to their community. Examples include: Fatherhood programs, parenting classes, General Educational Development (GED) classes, resume building and interview practice, conflict resolution, First Aid/CPR certification, community gardens and beautification, verbal de-escalation training, and volunteering at food banks or shelters and independent projects for those with specific skills or needs.