Community Service Program
The Community Service Program provides two levels, or types, of community service as intermediate sentencing options for the Circuit and District Courts of Kent County; Regular Community Service and Work Crew. These programs not only serve as an alternative to incarceration but also provide the community with over 125,000 hours of free labor each year.
Regular Community Service is a punishment that is both appropriate for the offender and beneficial to the community. The program operates in cooperation with area non-profit organizations to provide opportunities for offenders to give back to the community with free labor. The program develops and maintains over 100 work sites throughout Kent County in which to place and monitor offenders. The goal of the program is to make a good match between the offender and a non-profit organization where the offender can perform the court ordered hours of service. The offender gains a meaningful work experience while making a positive contribution to the community. Offenders are required to keep their community service schedules (which will not conflict with their normal work schedule) and put in a minimum of six (6) hours of community service per week.
Work Crew is a more structured, labor intensive and punitive form of community service designed for the more problematic, habitual offender. The offenders are placed under the supervision the Work Crew Supervisor and are transported to various work sites, often outside, to perform more labor-intensive duties. Work Crew duties include, but are not limited to, the following: clearing drainage ditches for the Kent County Drain Commission; removing brush and debris along roads; removing debris and shoveling snow at the Gerald R. Ford Airport; sorting recyclable materials at Kent County's Recycling Facility; washing vehicles for the Kent County Road Commission; moving court records to storage or to the Waste to Energy Facility; and helping with various food distribution programs. Offenders are required to keep their Work Crew schedule (which will not conflict with their work schedule) and put in a minimum of sixteen (16) hours of service per week.
Referrals to the Community Service Program
The Community Service Program primarily serves Kent County District Courts (except the 61st District Court) and the 17th Circuit Court but also accepts referrals from other jurisdictions if the offender lives in the Grand Rapids area.
Referrals can be made by sending official paperwork (a Court Services Referral Form, a Basic Information Report, a Probation Order, a Final Judgement of Sentence or other court order) to the Court Services Department. The paperwork should include the following:
- Referral source (Jurisdiction, Probation Agent, etc.)
- Court case/docket number
- Current offense
- Type of service ordered (Community Service or Work Crew)
- Number of hours ordered & time frame for completing the hours
- Offender's current address and telephone number
- Court, probation dept, or contact person's address and telephone number for follow up and discharge purposes
The paperwork may be sent to:
Court Services Department
Community Service Program
180 Ottawa Ave. Suite 2100
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Fax to: (616) 632-5339
Once the official paperwork has been received the client should be told to contact our office at (616) 632-5350 to make an appointment to register.
Registration appointments take approximately 30 minutes. The client will fill out some paperwork, including two short questionnaires, which will assist the Caseworker in making a good match between the client and a non-profit work site. The client will then meet with the Caseworker to go over the program requirements and to be placed at a work site. The community service work schedule will not conflict with the client's employment schedule.
Once placement has occurred, the Caseworker will monitor the case for compliance with program requirements and progress towards completion. When a case is found to be in non-compliance, corrective action is taken and if problem is not corrected, the case will then be closed and returned to the referring court or agent. Upon successful completion, the referral source will be notified.