Within the Federal Courts, community service is a special condition of either probation or supervised release that a Court may impose. Community service requires that an individual work, without pay, for a civic or nonprofit organization. The Court may impose community service as a form of punishment, to restrict the personal liberty of people under supervision and to require them to forfeit their leisure time. Community service may also be a form of rehabilitation, to instill a work ethic and assist people on supervision develop interests and skills.
Community service benefits individuals under supervision by requiring them to give back to society. The community receives the time and labor of the individuals under supervision, and they provide services that may not otherwise be available due to lack of funding. Individuals under supervision can also use community service as a way to garner valuable work experience, job skills, and references.
The United States Probation Office locates agencies willing to work with individuals under supervision and matches individuals under supervision with suitable community service assignments. Officers also visit the individuals at their community service assignments to monitor their progress and assist in resolving any problems that may arise. Throughout the course of the individuals’ community service, the United States Probation Office will inform the Court of the progress made, or of any noncompliance issues.