View Full Version : Community Service for Criminals

05-25-2011, 12:40 AM
I know a majority of criminals pick up trash as part of their community service, but is there any other types of work they can do, such as volunteering at shelters or hospitals? Or giving lectures to local groups?

Kitty Pryde
05-25-2011, 12:49 AM
A place I used to work would have criminal dudes come do their service hours. It was a sleepaway summer camp for people with disabilities. The community service criminal guys would do maintenance work under the supervision of the property manager--digging, hauling, yard and garden stuff, stump-pulling, fence-building, your basic low-skilled manual labor. And they were not allowed to interact with campers and staff except to smile politely or warn them about dangerous situations. Overall it seemed that they liked the work ok because they could see the campers enjoying themselves and get a warm fuzzy feeling. And one of the volunteers was so good that he got hired on as an assistant property manager.

Shelters and hospitals, I dunno. There's a big ole liability issue when you are combining convicted criminals (many of whom are not really bad dudes but still) with vulnerable populations.

Chicago Expat
05-25-2011, 12:55 AM
I don't know how consistent it is from state to state in the U.S., but in Kentucky, here are a few things that I've seen convicts doing:

1. Work at the animal shelter.
2. Work for the Roads Dept. doing things like watering plants on public streets and other types of landscaping of public grounds.
3. Stringing up christmas lights and other holiday decorations on the lamp posts on Main St.
4. Trash (like you mentioned).
5. There are some that take part in a dog training program that I can't quite remember the details of, but I think it had to do with training dogs for the blind and maybe some other things. I'll see what I can find on that for you.
6. Various other Roads Dept. tasks, like filling in a pothole.
7. Working at the Recycling Center.
8. Various grounds work at public parks.

If I think of more, I'll add 'em later.

05-25-2011, 02:25 AM
In or out of jail/prison? And the state makes a big difference.

Many states use inmates in jail/prison for armed road crews formerly known as chain gangs. These are inmates that require guards and return daily to jail/prison. Sometimes they can be used for projects requiring large numbers of bodies. Right at the moment, several states are using armed crews for sand bagging (you'll see the guard on the edge of the shot). These groups do not normally have any contact with the rest of the world. (See how many guns point your way when you go over to offer them some water.)

Some states have programs at their jails/prisons for such things as dog and horse training, farm stand, crafts, et cetera. In this case, most of the inmates do not have contact with the public, but a few might.

Inmates in their final transition from prison will be allowed to work without guards and may not have to report to the prison/halfway house on a daily basis if the program has a live-in potential. Some inmates will do community service.

Criminal defendants can have a community service component as part of their sentence. Usually these are done outside the Department of Corrections and the defendant has to arrange it themselves. This can include lectures.

What are you trying to do? Give me what you're trying to do and I can probably figure out how to get it done. God knows I've got some clients sentenced to some creative community service projects instead of jail.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cate townsend
05-25-2011, 07:34 AM
There's a program in my area for inmates who can apply to serve with fire crews who respond to wildfires.

05-26-2011, 12:52 AM
There are a plethora of things one can do for their community service. I know when Lindsay Lohan got her hours, she served them by hosting acting lessons at the local women's shelter or similar community place. One man I know of who owns his own salon and cuts hair for a living served his hours at the homeless shelter cutting or arranging hair for people who had job interviews.

I think if there is something specific you want your criminal to do, they can probably do it, as long as it is charitable in some way.

Chicago Expat
05-26-2011, 03:06 AM
I know a majority of criminals pick up trash as part of their community service, but is there any other types of work they can do, such as volunteering at shelters or hospitals? Or giving lectures to local groups?

Oh, wait, did you mean while they were still imprisoned or do you also mean after they've been released from state/federal custody?

My answer above was based solely on inmates, i.e. people still serving their jail/prison sentence but released for brief periods of time during the day to work in the community.

05-26-2011, 03:19 AM
Animal shelters generally do not want people with serious or violent crimes working with their animals.

Clair Dickson
05-26-2011, 03:41 AM
Some of it will depend on the crime. My students, who are mainly drug offenses, do all sorts of community service. They get to pick and arrange their community service.

05-28-2011, 12:34 PM
I'm in the UK, but we had a group of young men doing community service come and paint our playgroup. The organisers were desperate for suitable work to give them - any community project not requiring major skills was considered. They were minor offenders and not in prison; their supervision consisted of me walking over there every couple of hours and counting heads.

06-12-2011, 08:25 AM
When I did community service, I cleaned the probation officers office building (an old jailhouse), cleaned day cares and toured a prison (which for sure set me straight pretty damn quick!).

I was only about 13 at the time, so there wasn't a whole hell of a lot I could do at that age. My friends had to do random cleaning as well and talking to youths. Here the only people who clean up on the side of the road are the prisoners.

06-12-2011, 06:40 PM
I was charged with underage drinking when I was 20 and my community service involved helping an elderly couple paint the outside of their house. Community service can involve all kinds of random things. ;)