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NCJ Number: 73324 Find in a Library
Title: Success of the British 'Community Service'
Journal: Revue de science criminelle et de droit penal compare  Issue:3  Dated:(July - September 1979)  Pages:636-647
Author(s): J Verin
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: The community service order, applied, as an alternative to short prison sentences, for offenders convicted of minor infractions, has been called a success in England since it was legislated in 1973.
Abstract: The community service order, i.e., a judicial order to a convicted offender to perform unpaid work in the community as a supplement or an alternative to incarceration, combines the penal philosophies of punishment, atonement, and rehabilitation. Charitable and social service organizations have willingly accepted such workers. Even trade unions, despite high unemployment, do not object, provided offenders do not replace any salaried employee. The offenders themselves benefit from community service sentences by acquiring habits of self-discipline and reliability indispensable to their social reintegration. A new self-image as a useful member of society replaces the label of social misfits and daily contacts with selfless, dedicated coworkers provide new role models for individuals used to associating with ruthless, violent pleasure-seekers. Even habitual lawbreakers realize that there is more to society than the simplistic exploiter-exploited dichotomy. Prospects for the community work order sentence must be organized, suitable tasks chosen, and adequate performance evaluation technique devised to make this alternative a success. The pilot programs operating in England since 1973 do not yet offer conclusive evidence of a lower recidivism rate than, for example, probation. However, its cost effectiveness, added to the benefits to the offenders, recommend it highly to progressive penologists. The United States is experimenting with the community work order alternative in several States. Difficulties in introducing this desirable substitute penalty in France do not come from legislators (always willing to legislate progress in all areas) but from local conditions (e.g., fewer governmental social service agencies than in Anglo-Saxon countries and bureaucratic delays in implementing new laws), but these obstacles can be negotiated. Explanatory footnotes include bibliographic references.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Community service order; England; France; Offenders; Social reintegration; United States of America
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=73324

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