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Community Service

Wong, Kevin (2017) Community Service. In: The Encyclopedia of Corrections. Wiley. ISBN 9781118845424

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Abstract

Community service refers to adult and youth justice sanctions ordered by courts that require convicted offenders to work unpaid in the community for a specified number of hours for nonprofit organizations or governmental bodies. It has a wide appeal for all justice philosophies – the retributive, punitive, reparative, restorative, and rehabilitative – and is intended to divert offenders from custody. Community service is widespread across jurisdictions in most parts of the world. Since the 1980s in the United States and the 1990s in the United Kingdom, community service has taken a more punitive turn. The limited number of empirical studies largely show that recidivism rates for offenders on community service orders were the same as for those who received a custodial sentence, with a few studies demonstrating lower recidivism rates.

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