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NCJ Number: 74155 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Community Service Orders - Implications of the British Experience for the American Justice System
Author(s): J Harding
Corporate Author: National Office for Social Responsibility
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 58
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
National Office for Social Responsibility
Alexandria, VA 22314
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Contract Number: J-LEAA-008-77
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the concept of the British Community Service Order (CSO), focusing on its rationale, aims, implementation, and effects.
Abstract: The program of noncustodial measures for specific offenders resulted from several factors: The influence of humanitarianism, scepticism about the effectiveness of imprisonment, prison overcrowding, and the need to restrict public expenditures. It also stemmed from a demand for stronger penalties, an increased consideration of victims' needs, and an emphasis on reintegration and community involvement for rehabilitation. Although the provisions for offender and offense eligibility, types of work, and administrative structure were fairly clear, statements about the philosophy of community service were deliberately ambivalent. However, the endeavor to reconcile the often competing objectives of community service -- punishment, reparations, and rehabilitation -- has created problems. Apparently simple decisions -- for example, about the rate at which offenders should be allowed to complete their hours, or the extent to which the work should be undertaken in the normal working week -- depend in part on the extent to which community service staff regard themselves as administering punishment (even though humane and constructive) or providing rehabilitation. Courts which differ in their rationale will vary in their treatment of similar situations and offenders. Oversights of work supervision include dissimilar styles and standards of supervision regarding both hours and types of work. A June, 1974 report on the six experimental CS schemes found that of the 1,192 clients, 207 were judged successful, 114 unsatisfactory, and the remainder were still running; 3-4 previous convictions were typical. A comparison of reconviction rates of 617 CS clients and a control of offenders in June, 1977, showed that 44 percent of the CS cases were recidivists within a year as opposed to 33 percent of the controls. Two CS standards developed in the southwestern portion of the United Kingdom are recommended. They involve the need for consistency, and emphasize effectiveness and control, and the helping process. Such effective standards wil provide the capability to control, develop, measure, and justify community service. Twenty-five references are appended.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Community service order; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Standards
Note: Presented at the Conference of Community Service, May 13 1980 in Minneapolis (MN)
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