Source: (2007) The Prison Journal. 87(2):171-194.

Relatively little research in the United States has examined the effectiveness of community service (CS) sentences among adult offenders, despite use of this alternative sanction for nearly 40 years. What little research exists, primarily from Europe, suggests that CS may not yield significant reductions in recidivism when compared to incarceration; however, much of this research suffers from important methodological limitations. This study employs a more rigorous evaluation design and a more appropriate comparison sample of offenders sentenced to pay traditional monetary fines. Results reveal that those who participate in CS sentences are less likely to experience post-program recidivism, controlling for several initial group differences. Limitations of the design and suggestions for future research are also discussed.