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County Launches Court-Referred Community Service Program
By Sentinel News Service 
Published January 4, 2018

The Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC) negotiated and executed a three-year funding agreement with the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee (CCJCC) to implement the Court-Referred Community Service (CRCS) Program at the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. 

Community service provides an alternative sentencing option in lieu of fines and/or incarceration for individuals who are convicted of infractions or misdemeanors. Individuals who choose to perform community service in a matter before the Court contact one of nine community service referral agencies, which service 24 courthouses located throughout the County. These referral agencies charge a fee, arrange the performance of community service at a non-profit organization, and review and assist the participants in reporting to the Court the hours of community service performed. 

Due to the lack of regulation of community service referral agencies, there have been many issues with fraud. This has prompted concern with the Court to consider reducing or discontinuing the use of community service as a sentencing option. Such action could lead to loss of driver’s licenses, additional criminal violations, and, ultimately, an increase in the number of incarcerations. 

The newly implemented CRCS Program addresses the Court’s concerns regarding community service as an alternative sentencing option, as well as the need to monitor the community service providers. 

“Community service is a vital criminal justice program,” said CDC Acting Executive Director Monique King-Viehland. “We are proud to partner with the CCJCC and the Courts to ensure it remains a reliable replacement for exorbitant fines or incarceration.” 

The CRCS Program will institute uniform standards for community service referral agencies, including common fee schedules, insurance requirements, and forms to report completed service hours to the Court. 

Additionally, the program has established a countywide list of approved community service referral agencies to be used by the Court and defendants sentenced to community service. These providers will be periodically monitored to ensure they are operating in compliance with the established program standards. 

The CDC serves the County of Los Angeles as an affordable housing, and community and economic development agency. The CDC’s wide-ranging programs benefit residents and business owners in the unincorporated Los Angeles County areas and participating cities. Since 1997, the CDC’s Traffic Administration Services (TAS) has provided administrative and customer services for, and on behalf of, the Court. 

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