Really Serving The Community

“Community service” sentences for perpetrators of relatively minor crimes have been around for years. As prosecutors and judges try to cope with overcrowded jails and prisons, they seem to be popping up frequently. But what do those handed such sentences do?

In Steubenville, they save the city a substantial amount of money.

When Municipal Court Judge John J. Mascio took office in 2015, court costs charged in cases were $69, noticeably lower than in many other courts. So Mascio increased the fees to $89, then to $99 per case.

Part of the money goes to the state and to a crime victims’ fund. Part is reserved for capital improvements and legal research. Out of the $99, $30 goes to the city general fund and $30 is reserved for the court’s special projects fund.

Of the amount collected last year, $53,000 was used to operate the court’s community service program. Among other things, those participating in it provide custodial services to the Steubenville municipal building. That saves the city an estimated $50,000 a year.

It cost the city nothing to operate the community service program, from which municipal government received valuable services.

Mascio’s program seems like an excellent one. Minor criminals work off their debt to society instead of going to jail, and taxpayers get a break on what municipal government costs them. Good for the judge.

Officials overseeing other community service programs in our area ought to take a look at Steubenville’s, if they do not already have something similar in place. With many municipal and county governments in our area strapped for cash, it just makes sense to be innovative in saving taxpayers money.