Saturday, September 24, 2011

City Will Allow Misdemeanor Defendants To Choose Church Over Jail

WKRG News reported this week that Bay Minette, Alabama is beginning a new program to allow those who face sentences by the city for non-violent misdemeanors to avoid jail and a fine by instead electing to attend church every Sunday for one year. According to Bay Minette police chief Mike Rowland, the program-- called Operation Restore Our Community-- will save the city $75 per day for each inmate that chooses the non-jail alternative.  So far 56 churches have signed up to participate in the program which requires offenders to check in each week with the church's pastor. After one year of church attendance, the offender's case will be dismissed. Rowland says the program is constitutional because the offender has a choice of whether to choose the church option, and may select the church of his or her choice. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead].