The Community Service Program administers community work service for adult offenders who are on probation. They are placed in non-profit and governmental agencies and assist these agencies in a variety of projects.
Offenders are referred to the Community Service Program by the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, as a condition of probation (as a sanction, per journal entry), or as a means of paying court costs and/or supervision fees. According to Miscellaneous Rule #450, qualifying probationers are those who fall under a poverty status and have been fully compliant with their terms of probation. After a written recommendation has been made and the Court has approved the request, probationers are permitted to pay off their court costs and fees by working Community Service Hours.
The probationer (referral) is then scheduled to be interviewed by the Probation Department’s Community Service Coordinator. The Coordinator will evaluate each referral’s work, school, and family schedules, as well as their access to transportation. Referrals compromise a wide spectrum of men and women of all ages, talents, and work skills. Every effort is made to match referrals with community service agency needs. If possible, the referral will be placed in an agency closest to their neighborhood. They may be placed in churches, housing programs, hunger centers, thrift stores, or social service organizations. Work activities range from litter collection, landscaping, and maintenance, to clerical and professional tasks. Public safety is assured by placing the referrals in an agency which provides close supervision. The Coordinator monitors all referrals through completion by constant communication with agencies where they are placed. Each Probation Officer is updated on the progress of their clients.
The Court Community Service Program demonstrates that community service sentencing is a “win-win” alternative that directly benefits the courts and our neighborhoods. The experience allows referrals the opportunity to modify work behavior, act in a responsible manner, and to improve their lifestyles. Work skills training can be learned “on the job”. The program frequently results in positive changes for the offender who performs community service work.
The Community Service Program is a cost effective and efficient sentencing alternative that responds to the needs of the Court and of the Community.