Community Service Restitution
Community Service Restitution
Community service restitution is assigned through the Brazos CORPS Program, or the Court Ordered Restitution and Public Service program. This program began in Brazos County as an experiment by the two district judges who were in office in 1979. At that time, selected offenders placed on felony probation were required to perform a given number of hours of volunteer service for non-profit organizations or tax-supported agencies. Ongoing support by the judges and work by various departmental personnel has created a formal community service program from this initial experiment.
Offenders who are required to perform community service as a condition of supervision are directed by the courts to perform 24 to 1000 hours, depending on the offense committed. Every effort is made by the Courts and the officer to refer offenders to sites where their skills can be utilized or new skills can be learned. Further, offenders are screened before they are referred for community service, in an attempt to avoid inappropriate referrals.
Probationers are responsible for performing community service as ordered. If the requirement is not fulfilled, the privilege of community supervision may be taken away and a jail or prison term imposed. The supervision officer makes referrals for community service from a list approved by the judges, so the supervising officer should be contacted with any questions. Probationers may not select their own community service sites, and if they do so, the hours will not count toward required hours.
The offender's responsibilities are as follows:
- Contact the agency and arrange a work schedule with the agency;
- Notify the agency's contact person if unable to work as scheduled;
- Ensure that a record of hours worked is being maintained by the agency;
- Exhibit behavior appropriate to the community service assignment;
- Follow rules and directions given by the agency's contact person or other authorized person;
- Follow all conditions of supervision set forth by the court; and,
- Notify the supervision officer if a problem arises with the referral or in performing community service.
- General guidelines for community service:
- Offenders may not receive monetary benefits or advertising publicity through the community service assignments;
- Money and other items may not be donated in exchange for hours;
- Offenders will not provide transportation to people as part of their community service assignment, unless accompanied by the agency's contact person or other designated person. Liability insurance is the responsibility of the agency; and,
- Offenders may continue with their community service beyond the term of the conditions of supervision, if they and the agency so choose. In this instance, the offender becomes a regular volunteer for that agency.
Offenders may not perform community service for their employer. In addition, the assignment may not be one in which the offender would be involved if the offender were not doing community service work. An example is a fraternity member who wants to complete hours through a fraternity-sponsored event or project, or individuals wanting to complete hours for their churches. Hours must be worked monthly or weekly, at least as often as ordered by the court. Offenders may work ahead on their hours, but may not fall behind on the required hours.
Performance of community service is a rewarding experience, and one that is a tremendous benefit to the community. Offenders have provided numerous hours of work for non-profit and tax-supported agencies through their community service requirements. Houses have been repaired for the elderly and disabled, food has been distributed through the Food Bank, animals cared for at the Brazos Animal Shelter, children supervised at the Boys' and Girls' Clubs and Lincoln Center, and Special Olympians cheered on through the efforts of our community service workers.