Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The definition of community service varies between communities, and the particulars of its practice are diverse. Nevertheless, there is a universal underlying premise. An offender is ordered to work for a specified number of hours, within a given time period, for a nonprofit community organization or a tax-supported agency. Extract labor is paid to the community as a form of “symbolic restitution,” a way of doing good after having done bad. The specific dimensions of the penalty or service may be designed to fit the offender, the offense, or the community's need. This practice is variously referred to as “reparation,” “service restitution,” “court referral,” or “economic sanction.” All these terms refer to some kind of noncustodial punishment that aims to locate an offender in the community. Generally, this alternative sanction is used in the lower courts and for less serious offenses, usually misdemeanors and minor violations. Another significant use of ...