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Giving Back: Introducing Community Service Learning-Improving Mandated Community Service for Juvenile Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2006
107 pages
This practical manual is designed to help juvenile-justice professionals apply school-based service-learning principles, goals, and methods to court-mandated community service for juvenile offenders.
As mandated by a justice agency, community service is typically applied only to misdemeanor offenses and requires an offender to complete work hours at organizations that provide services to a community. In learning activities outside the justice system, educators have long known the value of community service as a learning tool. School-based community service, called service learning, is a teaching strategy that links the skills and knowledge students learn in the classroom to issues, needs, or problems they identify in their school or community. Recently, youth court and other juvenile-justice programs have begun to borrow from this school-based strategy in an effort to make mandated community service more meaningful and rehabilitative. Called community service learning (CSL), this new community-service model combines the principles and methods of school-based service learning and court-based restorative justice, applying them to court-mandated community service. This manual lists the goals and objectives of service learning alongside of balanced and restorative justice goals and objectives, followed by a listing of the goals and objectives of court-mandated community-service learning. In providing an overview of community-service learning components, the activities described introduce participants and supervisors to basic concepts of community and project options that provide them with several differing frameworks for planning and implementing community-service learning projects. “Tips for Supervisors” address materials and preparation, project guidelines, and evaluation. Resources are listed under various categories.

Date Published: January 1, 2006