Source: (2003) St Paul, MN: Minnesota Dept of Corrections. Downloaded 11 June 2004.
Established in 1986, the STS program serves as a sentencing alternative that provides courts with the option to sentence offenders to a period of supervised work in the community that involves public work projects that would otherwise not be completed. Participants return to jail after completing work each day of their sentence. Offenders eligible for the STS program are deemed to pose a minimal threat to public safety. STS projects for State, local, and nonprofit agencies have included park and trail maintenance, highway litter pick-up, labor for school district projects, playground installation, construction of monuments, cemetery maintenance, senior citizen center and nursing home maintenance, snow removal, construction of access ramps for the disabled, and natural disaster response and cleanup. In addition to the benefits to the community, the program provides the opportunity for offenders to develop work skills and habits. In addition to the return on investment measured in dollars, a survey of program partners and participants overwhelmingly showed the importance of the STS program to communities. Each of the groups surveyed — county board members, jail programmers, project site coordinators, crew members, crew leaders, and corrections professionals — had a different perspective of the program and a distinctive way of benefiting from the program. This report recommends increased funding for the program, the implementation of a consistent jail and fine credit system statewide, and recognition that the program is a restorative justice program that partners with communities in addressing criminal behavior. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
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