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  • A brand new plan called Operation Restore Our Community is beginning in Alabama in the coming week. Bay Minette's one judge is offering a brand new penalty choice. Offenders are given the choice to go to one of about 56 churches for a full year of Sundays. Otherwise, they must pay a fine and go to imprisonment. Resource for this article: "Alabama court offers church in place of jail":http://www.newsytype.com/11836-alabama-church-jail/

    Getting the community back in order

    A city judge has made a brand new program. This bay Minette, Alabama judge is anxious about this. The Operation Restore Our Community program is something there are over 50 churches involved in. The misdemeanor non-violent culprits will have a choice for a penalty. The culprits could be sentenced to jail and fines, or they can choose to go to church every Sunday for a full year. If the person misses any days of church, they'll have their suit looked at again. They have to check in with law enforcement and pastors every Sunday to make sure they have gone. The case will then be dismissed if the person participates in church for one year.

    What the numbers show

    Operation Restore Our Community has a statistical basis. The chances that criminals and offenders will re-offend are much lower when the culprit has a strong connection to the neighborhood. Many of these studies consider church attendance part of a full-scale "community involvement" metric. Not all religions are shown to help in the study. Mostly only Jeudo-Christian church attendance works.

    The Operation Restore Our Community program is supported by the Bay Minette Police Chief. The city does not have a lot of additional cash lying around. The municipal costs will be reduced quite a bit. It costs an average of $75 per day, per inmate to keep people in prison. The church-attendance plan will cost hardly anything. That is pretty good compared to the $27,000 a year it costs to have an inmate.

    Keeping from rights

    The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says "no religious doctrine shall be established by law," which has long been interpreted to mean church and state should be separated. Lots of people are concerned about what the plan will do. It endorses religion, which makes many people scared. The administrators of the program point out that with 56 church possibilities, no single religion or belief is being endorsed. Nobody has tested the idea that culprits might not believe in anything offered to them.

    Information from

    <strong>Society for Promotion of Community Standards, Inc.</strong> (PDF): http://spcs.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/ResearchReports/RecidivismInterventionReport.pdf

    <strong>MSNBC:</strong> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44639996/ns/local_news-rochester_ny/t/offenders-alabama-town-can-choose-jail-or-church/#.TnzO1WOP-_0

    <strong>CBS News:</strong> http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/23/national/main20110680.shtml

    <strong>The Blaze: </strong> http://www.theblaze.com/stories/alabama-city-to-let-non-violent-criminals-choose-jail-or-weekly-church-attendance/

    <strong>UK Department of Justice</strong> (PDF): http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/community-sentencing.pdf


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