EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV.com) – St. Clair County Prosecutors are working to cut violent crime by offering those with court ordered community service double credit if their service is completed at specific agencies. Offenders working with these agencies could be helping those at risk for following in their footsteps.
New Life Community Church is one of seven locations in East St. Louis aimed at helping poverty stricken families affected by crime. It is one of the approved locations for volunteers that need to complete court ordered community service.
“It gives them a sense that ‘hey, it’s okay to take responsibility and to give back,’” said a spokesperson for the States Attorney Office.
Last year, 79,000 hours of court ordered community service were completed in St. Clair County. Seven organizations focusing on populations at risk in East St. Louis and Washington Park will get preference from offenders looking to complete community service. The community service ranges from cleaning to clerical work and includes interactions with the public. The goal of the program is to be a mutually beneficial relationship between the convict and the community.
“Intervening at the lower levels, we’re hoping to prevent the violent crimes later on and really prevent the pattern of violence we keep seeing in the neighborhoods that we’re looking at,” said a spokesperson for the program.
The pastor at the New Life Community Church estimates that 45 to 50 percent of the volunteers will remain involved in the church after their court ordered community service has been completed.