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“The Effectiveness of Community Service Sentences Compared to Traditional Fines for Low-Level Offenders”

Bouffard, Jeffrey A.
June 4, 2015

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.


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