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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82771 Find in a Library
Title: When the Defendant Is Too Poor To Pay a Fine
Journal: Judges' Journal  Volume:21  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1982)  Pages:44-47,58-59
Author(s): D McDonald
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 6
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report describes three community service programs operated in New York City by the Vera Institute of Justice. The programs' screening criteria are designed to ensure that only convicted offenders are accepted and that this alternative is not used as an additional punishment for defendants who otherwise would have received lesser sentences.
Abstract: The Vera Institute established the Bronx Community Service Sentencing Project in 1978, a Brooklyn Criminal Court project in 1980, and a Manhattan program in 1981. Clients work in teams supervised directly by project personnel, 70 hours, generally on a full-time basis. Most clients are unskilled and unemployed. They sweep, mop, move furniture, sort clothes, remove rubble, paint building interiors, install smoke alarms, and do other tasks for public or private nonprofit agencies. Although agencies and the offenders have had positive responses to the program; between 10 and 15 percent of the participants fail, usually by not showing up for work. Each project has a full-time service broker who helps the participants find jobs and other needed services. The Vera Institute is developing a method to determine the savings from averted jail use. The program incurs costs and must compete for the same limited funds as jails. Among the many unanswered questions concerning restitution sentencing are whether offenders perceive that they are making amends for the suffering they have caused and whether the sentence serves as an effective crime control tool.
Index Term(s): Community Service Restitution Program; New York
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