WELCOME TO THE COMMUNITY SERVICE DEPARTMENT
To enforce Community Service Court Orders for purposes of reducing prison population and attendant imprisonment costs.
The community service programme
Many countries around the world have community service programmes, under these programmes persons who commit non-serious offencearemade to perform unpaid work which is of benefit to the society/community. Countries that have incorporated this programme in their judicial system include Botswana, USA, and Uganda among others.
Zimbabwe put into operation its own community service programme in August 1992 following the promulgation of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Act, 8/97. Since the inception of the programme, it has received overwhelming support from the prison services, police, judges, magistrates prosecutors, N.G.O’s like Zimbabwe Association for Crime Rehabilitation Organisation (ZACRO), Prison fellowship and other organisations.
How does the programme work?
Instead of the court sentencing a person to immediate imprisonment, the court may suspend the sentence on condition that the offender performs a specific number of hours of unpaid community work. If unemployed the offender may be ordered to perform work during normal working hours, if employed, the community work may be performed during weekends. This is done in order to ensure that those placed on community service continue to fend for their families.
What kind of work do probationers perform?
Probationers that are placed on community service normally perform manual work. The offender may be ordered to sweep the street or market place, cut grass in public parks, help to build school rooms or dams. Clean public toilets or hospital floors or do special work for disadvantaged members of the community. Sometimes offenders may be asked to utilise their skills depending on the needs of the institution and the community. Such skills are carpentry , building, technical skills, mechanics among others.
All persons placed on community service are monitored and supervised by heads of institutions and Community Service Officers make follow ups to check on compliance.
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