Ok, I know this topic has been discussed before, but I need a 2nd (or 3rd) opinion. My county has a policy that pre-dates me, allowing payment in lieu of CS hours actually performed. A recent AG opinion (GA-0593) leads me to believe this practice is not allowed. My issue is the wording in the opinion. Our probationers are not "required" to pay, but rather are "allowed" to pay $5/hr not actually performed. Thoughts on this?
Sounds like a bribe.
There have been bills that attempted to add authorization for this to 42.12. I know they did not pass in 2003 and 2005. That tells me it is not a proper practice.
It really rubs me the wrong way, too, because it would allow a defendant with money to buy their way out of CS, while making folks who aren't so fortunate toil away.
Punishment, even in the form of community service, is supposed to be inconvenient. By making someone alter their lifestyle to consider assisting someone else theoretically begins the rehabilitative process and helps the community as well. Buying your way out of that process demeans the criminal justice system and does nothing to change the defendant's behavior.
Much criminal behavior is initiated because of the selfish disposition of the defendant. Community service is one of the very few conditions of probation that actually still seems to get the defendant to consider that something outside of himself/herself matters. It would be a shame to destroy its purpose by turning it into a simple dollar and cents exchange.
P.S. Congratulations, DMS, on your first post. You should be receiving your free TDCAA gift soon.
[This message was edited by JB on 01-26-08 at .]
Thanks for the input. I get words of wisdon AND a free gift?!?!
Don't hold your breath.
Might want to read GA-0593 issued January 17, 2008.
Chris- That's precisely the opinion that I was inquiring about. What is your take on that?
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