A SECOND CHANCE FOR LOW-LEVEL OFFENDERS
I’m a Case Manager at our Community Service program, which offers an alternative-to-incarceration through volunteer work for individuals charged with low-level, non-violent crimes. Coming from a background in social work, I am committed to assisting others to improve their lives, and I feel as though the pre-plea aspect of the program has allowed for that. Pre-plea means that I work with clients before they go to trial and assess if they are eligible for our assistance. The Community Service program offers clients an opportunity to take accountability for their actions and presents a constructive means of repairing damages caused by their crimes, while at the same time benefiting the community at large.
The program focuses on clients’ strengths and potentially improves clients’ sense of self-worth. It has been particularly rewarding to receive a phone call from a client informing me of how great their placement was and how much they learned from it, or to receive a phone call from a site supervisor thanking me for sending such a hard worker. I have witnessed firsthand clients who have had such a positive experience from completing their community service that they have continued to volunteer at the site after fulfilling their obligation to the court. I have even had clients offered employment at their site upon completing their community service hours.
“I was really upset when I was sentenced to perform 35 hours of community service. I thought I was going to be assigned to clean bathrooms or some other disgusting job,” said Krystin, a former Community Service client. “Instead, the Intake Specialist listened to my concerns, determined that I needed to work in a structured setting, and respectfully assigned me to work at a non-profit agency close to my home. Due to my performance at my community service work-site, I was offered a job at the end of my assignment.”
My personal experience working with EAC Network has been extremely positive and rewarding. I am very fortunate to have a genuinely supportive Program Director and co-workers who have continued to offer support since the first day that I started.
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Jessica is a Case Manager at EAC Network’s Pre-Plea Community Service program in Suffolk County.