Frequently Asked Questions
Community Service Program
Who does the program serve?
Clients ordered to perform Community Service or Work Crew hours by Kent County Circuit and District Courts (with the exception of 61st District Court - City of Grand Rapids which has it's own program called the Alternative Sentencing Program. Tel: 616-632-5648). Most clients come from Kent County courts but the program also accepts referrals from other jurisdictions.
How does the referral process work?
Court paperwork (probation orders, Final Judgement of Sentence, Basic Information report, etc.) showing the referral source, the client's name, address and phone number, the docket number, the number of hours ordered, the probation agent's name, etc. should be sent or faxed (Fax: 616-632-5339) to our office. Once the paperwork is received the client should contact our office (Tel: 616-632-5350) to schedule an appointment to come in to the office to register and be assigned to a work site.
How does one get registered for community service?
Clients need call the office (Tel: 632-5350) to schedule an appointment to register in our office. The registration process takes approximately 30 minutes and involves filling out some forms and a short interview for the purpose of finding an appropriate work site at which to perform the required community service hours.
Will the community service assignment interfere with a client's employment?
No, the community service schedule will not conflict with a client's employment schedule.
Where do clients perform the community service?
There are over 150 non-profit organizations in Kent County currently being used as community service work sites. A work site is chosen that best meets the needs of the client in terms of schedule and proximity to the client's home.
Can a client pay money instead of doing the required hours of community service?
No. The courts would sentence with a fine if that were the desired punishment. Only the court has the authority to change the sentence.
How long does a client have to complete the required hours of service?
Clients are required to put in a minimum of six hours of service per week until the hours are completed unless the court specifies a different due date.
What type of work do clients have to perform?
Typically, community service consists of janitorial / custodial type duties but at times may involve food service, clerical work, telemarketing, data entry, sorting materials, or construction trades.
Can a client perform community service at their regular place of employment for no pay?
No. Community Service must be performed at a NON- PROFIT organization and may not be performed at a client's place of employment nor at a place where a family member would supervise the service.
What is the difference between Community Service and Work Crew?
Work Crew is more structured, labor intensive form of service, under the supervision of the Work Crew Supervisor. The crew is taken to various work sites to perform service for Kent County Departments/Agencies, such as the Department of Aeronautics, Dept. of Public Works, Road Commission, Drain Commission, John Ball Park Zoo, etc., to clear brush and debris from roadsides, ditches or drains, etc. Clients are required to put in 16 hours per week and attendance is strictly monitored and enforced. Unexcused absences result in termination form the program.
How long will I be in the Diversion Program?
A minimum of six months and completion of all Diversion requirements.
What types of fees will I have to pay while on Diversion?
Application Fee - $15 , Diversion Fee - $400 , Values Class - $75 (If Applicable) , Restitution - (If Applicable).
What happens to my case upon completion of Diversion?
Case is dismissed , all charges are dropped.
Does your program accept cases outside of Kent County?
Yes, we will courtesy supervise any cases required to complete Diversion.
What does it mean when my bond condition states that I must "Report to Court Services"?
You must report to our Pretrial Supervision program. Failing to report is a violation of your bond conditions.
How long will I be on Pretrial Supervision?
If you are placed on Pretrial Supervision, you will remain under supervision while the case is pending or if the bond condition of "Reporting to Court Services" is removed.
What happens if I violate my conditions of bond?
Your bond can be revoked and you will be arrested and put back in jail.
Are you my probation officer?
No. We are Pretrial Caseworkers monitoring the conditions of bond set by the court.
How do I find out who my Court Appointed lawyer is on my "felony case"?
You can call the Appointments Clerk office at Tel: 616-632-5043.
Pretrial Maximum Supervision (Tether)
What does it mean to be on Pretrial Maximum Supervision?
You have a condition of bond to be placed on a electronic monitoring device ( ie: tether, screen & breathalyzer) until disposition of your case or unless the bond condition is amended to no longer include electronic monitoring.
Do I have to pay any fees while on electronic monitoring?
Yes there is an enrollment fee as well as having to pay the cost of all tether fees. This varies depending on what electronic device you are hooked up to.
If I have a schedule change can I leave the home and then call you with the change?
No all scheduling changes must be scheduled with your tether agent. If you do not talk with your tether agent, you may not leave the home!
What if I cannot attend a meeting or treatment session of a program I am enrolled in?
In the event that you are absolutely unable to attend (illness, schedule conflict), call your program leader and inform them that you will be unable to attend and find out when/if you need to make up the meeting at a future date. Inform the tether agent as well, if you will not be able to attend.
What if my telephone gets disconnected?
To participate in the tether program, you must have an active telephone line. If you find out that your telephone line is going to be disconnected for any reason, inform the tether agent immediately. To continue on tether, you must either reactivate the line immediately or change residences to a home that does have an active telephone line.
Screening and Investigation
How much is (the defendant's) bond?
Pretrial Investigators do not usually know the exact time &/or date unless someone has already been to their first court appearance (arraignment). Bond & Court Information is sent to the Jail first and the court knows immediately. The best way to find out is to call the appropriate court, or if the person is still in Jail, then to call inmate information (Tel: 616-632-6301).
How do I bond someone out of Jail?
You must come to the Kent County Correctional Facility with cash or a money order; you may also pay with a credit card now. It is a good idea to bring identification also. The Jail takes bond money 24 hours a day.
Can I be in the Court when (the defendant) is arraigned?
Yes, however most courts video arraign inmates for safety. Therefore, the defendant usually remains at the Jail and talks to the judge over a video screen, but you can watch the whole proceeding at the appropriate court.
When can I visit (the defendant)?
No one is allowed to have personal visits until they have been arraigned. Inmate Information at the Jail can provide the visiting hours (Tel: 616-632-6301).
What is a PR (Personal Recognizance) Bond?
A PR Bond is a promise by the defendant to appear for court without having to pay any bond money at the time of release.
What happens at an arraignment?
The defendant is told by the judge what he/she is being charged with and what the penalty is if found guilty of the charge. A bond is set, and a date is given for the next court date (preliminary exam).