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What is the Trial Court Community Service Program in Massachusetts?

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Community service programs that have been ordered by courts are one possible form of punishment available when an offender has been convicted of a crime that is not very serious. Such programs are thought to have benefits for both the community and the offender in the long term. Massachusetts, like most states across the U.S., has a policy of using targeted court community service programs.

Community service programs may or may not be standalone punishments

Courts have the power to decide whether a particular offender should do community service, i.e. carry out activities in the community that benefit the community in some way. Community service may be the only form of punishment, or may be ordered in addition to other penalties such as incarceration or fines. Typically, community service is seen as an alternative to more punitive forms of punishment and is often used when the offender is a juvenile or a first term offender and may not be able to afford the fines or will be more likely to suffer undue harm if sentenced to a period in jail.

Community service programs are devised to prioritize the safety of the community

When a judge makes a decision about ordering a community service program for a particular offender, there are a lot of factors to consider. Serious offenders who have been involved in violent crime, or have committed murder, are not suitable choices for community service. Judges will ensure that the specific service program does not create the potential for harm in the community.

Community service programs are linked to the offense committed by the offender

The specific offense committed by the offender is taken into consideration when a community service program is ordered. The community service should not be divorced from the type of offense. For example, if a businessperson is convicted of fraud, it doesn’t make sense to order a service program involving helping those with drug abuse problems. Conversely, community service programs devised for those who have committed drug crimes often involve helping drug abuse facilities. An equivalent for the fraud offender may have involved paying regular amounts in donation to the organization or institution that was defrauded.

Financial benefits of community service programs

incarceration is costly

Incarceration as a punishment is costly . A 2015 survey found that the average cost of keeping an inmate in a jail or prison in Massachusetts was $55,170, well above the average of those states surveyed, which was $33,274. While the overall other costs and benefits to the community are taken into consideration, community service for minor offenders is a cheaper way of punishing the offender than incarcerating them.

At the same time, community service programs have their own costs, as court time is taken up by devising the program and ensuring that offenders are actually maintaining what is expected of them.

Factors that may determine how a community service program is devised

When a community service program is devised , the benefits to both the community and the offender are taken into consideration. It is hoped that through participating in whatever program is devised, it helps the offender realize the damaging effects his or her activities had on sections of the community and may help to rehabilitate the offender so that they do not re-offend. For offenders who have little or no useful skills that could be used to obtain a job, the program devised may include training that could help them when the program is completed.

Usually, the offender’s choices of community program are taken into consideration. The offender may be given a number of choices of program that are deemed suitable for their punishment. It may be considered that on offender who has made a stronger commitment to one or another type of community service program may benefit more from involvement. The decision to order community service may be part of a plea bargain agreement between the offender and the prosecution.

Community service programs are not always suitable if the offender lives too far away from the location of the program.

At the same time, not all community service is possible. Some organizations or institutions may not like the idea of an offender involved as a volunteer with them. It is important for any organization chosen as a location for court ordered community service programs to be on board with the program as their cooperation in ensuring the offender carries out what is required is necessary.

Penalties for failing to complete a community service program successfully

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Community service programs have a finite length, as they cannot be continued indefinitely. At the end of the program, or at any point before that, if the offender has not carried out what they were supposed to satisfactorily, then other penalties may be imposed. In some circumstances, it may mean that harsher penalties including higher fines or greater lengths of incarceration are imposed than might have been if community service was not chosen in the first place. The possibility of imposing tougher penalties is meant to persuade an offender to take the community service program they have been ordered to complete seriously, make an attempt to rehabilitate themselves back into the community and deter other people from carrying out a similar offense.

For more information, visit our website  Mucci Legal  or  contact us for a free initial legal consultation  today.

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At Handmaidens Ministries Inc our mission is to, “Help Those In Need”. We strive to fulfil our mission by constantly implementing new programs and providing new services that will benefit those who choose to participate in them.

Food distribution program-, hmi is dedicated to helping those in need; therefore, our regularly stocked food bank is a significant source of food for people in tough situations, as well as homeless feeding programs., community service program-, handmaidens ministries inc makes the process of completing court ordered community service hours simple. with our court ordered community service programs, we provide new, innovative, and dynamic solutions for your community service requirements..

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Sentenced To Serve

This site can help people who are ordered by a court to perform community service connect with ways to complete their hours. We can also help people find service hours when they need to pay off a ticket by volunteering. Not every agency is able to work with court-ordered volunteers. Below are the steps you can take to find open opportunities for volunteers sentenced to serve. Step 1 Log in to your account or create an account by clicking the blue LogIn button at the top of this screen. Step 2 Search volunteer opportunities . Step 3 Scroll down to Additional Filters  and click the + sign next to Appropriate For  before clicking the Court Ordered Volunteers  box.  Step 4 Click Refine  to see results. When you find an appropriate activity, click Express Interest  and the agency will respond with more information.  

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We are a Brick & Mortar Program Provider . A Certified and Accredited Program with Live, In-Person Classroom Style, Video Group Sessions. We are currently in our 17th year with now over 13,900 probationers/parolees in our database, 11,700 of which who have successfully completed and satisfied their court orders through our program. The managing staff at Court Ordered Programs has developed exceptional and technologically advanced programs and “Advanced Learning System - Live WebCasted Classroom Groups” that they have implemented in their school side campus CourtOrderedClasses . This is not the make believe on-line program that others offer on CD’s and word documents. These “live webcasted group meetings ” adhere to and surpass all State standards  and laws regarding Domestic Violence, Batterers Intervention, Anger Management, Child Endagerment / Abuse, Parenting, Drug & Alcohol Programs and Court Ordered Classes has since been put to use by many Children's, Family, Drug and Criminal Courts throughout the Nation.

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Under the guidance of the Clinical Director and the Commissioner, the Credentialing Coordinator is responsible for the timely gathering, reviewing and compiling of provider application information to be submitted to the appropriate credentialing agency. Elesia Quinerly (VanBuren) also Assigns & Facilitates WebCasted Program Groups and One-on-One Assessments under Chief Facilitator supervision.

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All of our other provided programs from DV/BIP to DEJ and Anger Management or Criminal Behavior Modification, Shoplifting, High Conflict Parenting, Divorce, and our new Juvenile Betterment Program follow the same standards and video group participation requirements with material from this decade.  We encourage you to take a closer look  and explore our many programs and initiatives as a resource to you in your intervention and prevention efforts.

For More Information or Addition Questions Court Officials Only can reach us using our direct Officer/Court line at (916) 900-6166.

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We look forward to speaking with you personally. Until then please look around and learn more about us and the work we do. Today like never before we can provide solutions that resolve many of the issues your department has had trouble with in the past, and this is why we are here.

Notice to defendants: Currently there many standards for domestic violence, batterers intervention and deferred entry of judgment program requirements; it is your responsibility to confirm with the judge, probation, or your attorney as to whether a distance-learning or "At-Home" court ordered program will meet your requirements. See if your Domestic Violence Program or Batterers' Intervention Program requires your judges consent under special circumstance.

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Domestic Violence Prevention Mission 11 July, 2007

We work to stop domestic violence. We do this one man at a time, one woman at a time, and one child at a time, using our proven counseling and educational programs. To stop domestic violence, we also work to prevent it. We do this with individuals through counseling and education, through anger management classes, through drug and alcohol abuse classes, but also by working closely with partner organizations throughout each and every community throughout the United States. Court Ordered Program’s partnerships with community and policy leaders, with higher education, with the law enforcement and court systems, and with human service organizations, have helped strengthen each community’s response to domestic violence on a daily basis.

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For those interested in completing court-ordered community service, you must be 18 years or older and serving hours for a non-violent misdemeanor offense such as DUI/OWI.

To apply to complete your service at the Humane Society of Macomb, please complete our application below and our volunteer coordinator will be in touch to schedule an orientation.

Please complete this application form if you are interested in fulfilling your court-ordered community service hours* at the Humane Society of Macomb. Once you complete the form, click the submit button at the bottom.

*The Humane Society of Macomb does not accept all offenses.

This form is for COURT-ORDERED Community Service hours only. If you need community service hours for school, work, church, etc. please fill out the Volunteer Application.

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We/I give my permission for my child/or myself to work/volunteer at the Humane Society of Macomb Animal Shelter. We/ I understand that community service tasks will include general labour such as cleaning, organization, yard work, etc. and no animal interaction other than possible bathing and kennel cleaning.

As a community service worker at the Humane Society of Macomb, I recognize and acknowledge that during the course of my duties I may have access to certain information not generally known to the public. Community service workers may not divulge confidential information about the Humane Society of Macomb’s employees, volunteers, customers, or adopters and confidential animal information without the written consent of the Humane Society of Macomb. Further, neither the Humane Society of Macomb nor the community service worker shall make any negative or disparaging comments or remarks about the other party.

We/I agree that the Humane Society of Macomb may photograph my child/ myself during my participation in the shelter. And we/ I hereby release any such photographs to the Humane Society of Macomb for use in programs, publications and other purposes.

We/ I agree to bring in my vaccination record (showing tetanus valid within last ten years) to be able to volunteer or know we/ I will be sent home.

We/ I agree to go through a one-hour volunteer orientation before working with any of the animals in the shelter. Orientation times are scheduled Saturdays 10:30a-11:30a. Community service workers will receive e-mailed notifications of upcoming schedule changes.

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North Central Massachusetts Habitat for Humanity

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We especially need volunteers able to support us with a regular commitment of their time and skills, weekly or bi-weekly, on our construction sites, in the ReStore or in the office.

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You don’t need construction experience to volunteer with Habitat. We provide the training and all of the materials and tools needed to be an effective worker. Learn more about Construction Volunteers >>

The ReStore sells donated new and used building supplies, appliances and furniture. Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of running the store. Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities at our ReStore >>

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Don’t really want to do construction and not sure the ReStore is your thing? There are many ways you can support Habitat’s mission that don’t involve work boots or pricing labels! Learn more about the many other ways to Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts! >>

School and Court-Ordered Community Service Information

We try to accommodate requests for community service hours as much as possible. Please do not sign up for a shift until you have completed a Community Service Scheduling Form and contacted our Volunteer Manager at (978) 348-2749 x205 or via email to discuss requirements and available opportunities. If you sign up for a volunteer shift, please make every effort to fulfill your commitment. Should a scheduling conflict occur preventing you from working your shift, either return to the scheduling calendar and delete your sign up or contact the office at (978) 348-2749 . Letters verifying the hours completed can be picked up from the our office, 201 Great Road in Acton.

In addition to the Community Service Scheduling Form , please print out and read the Community Service Guidelines & Agreement  and sign it with the shift manager upon your arrival for service.

Please Note: We cannot accept court-ordered community service requests from persons whose offenses involve larceny and/or violence.

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Please contact our volunteer coordinator for any questions about volunteering with Habitat. The Volunteer Coordinator can be reached at (978) 348-2749 x205 or send an email .

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Fines and Fees Justice Center

Court-Ordered Community Service: A National Perspective

65 percent of all responding courts report using mandated community service.

Community service mandates date back to the late 1960s as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent crimes. It has since evolved into a component of monetary sanctions or probation rather than an alternative. Still, there are critical knowledge gaps regarding how it’s being used as an alternative to incarceration or monetary sanctions and whether community service sentences lead to improved outcomes for defendants and communities. The Center for Court Innovation surveyed 1,500 counties, municipalities, and limited-jurisdiction district courts across the country about their use of mandated community service and their community service programming characteristics. This report summarizes those findings and provides recommendations to expand community service and strengthen supervisory and compliance monitoring structures.

You can read the full text here .

Key Findings:

  • When sentencing defendants, the lower courts used monetary sanctions for 98 percent and community service 65 percent of the time.
  • 76 percent of participating courts support community service mandates as an alternative to court fines and fees, 54 percent to reduce the imposition of court fines and fees, and 49 percent to repair harm to the community.
  • Community service is most used for defendants charged with misdemeanors (77 percent) or violation-level offenses (64 percent).
  • “Appropriate” defendant characteristics for community service mandates included first-time offenders (74 percent), youth (73 percent), defendants working or in school (57 percent), and those with stable community ties (45 percent).
  • Manual labor was the most common type of work available for defendants; 78 percent of responding courts had manual labor work available, 57 percent had public/social service work available, and 27 percent had administrative work for public agencies.
  • The average length of service was 34 hours for misdemeanor cases and 55 hours for felony cases.
  • Only 15 percent of courts use a standard formula to convert jail days into work hours, 68 percent of courts use their discretion.
  • Outside agencies administer 41 percent of community service programs, only 13 percent of courts run their community service program, and 33 percent ask defendants to find their own provider.
  • 20 percent of respondents indicated that a criminal case could be fully resolved with only a community service mandate, and 43 percent said sometimes.
  • 82 percent of community service mandates are combined with monetary sanctions, 66 percent with probation, and 51 percent with other jail diversion programs. 

Recommendations:

  • Courts should allow for any case that can be partially or entirely be adjudicated by court fines and fees to be resolved with community service.
  • Policymakers should strengthen supervisory and compliance monitoring structures by employing staff to monitor compliance or establishing requirements for agencies administering community service programs.
  • Diversify community service options to accommodate those with disabilities, who live in rural jurisdictions, or have scheduling challenges.
  • Establish a maximum number of hours that can be imposed in any case or rely on a higher flat conversion rate.

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Court-Ordered Community Service: A National Perspective

Community Service Report Summary Cover

Community service has long been a staple of sentencing in the United States, with many jurisdictions looking to incorporate it as part of efforts to reform local justice systems. Yet there has been surprisingly little study of how it's actually used across the country.

Our study draws on a survey of more than 600 lower-level courts across the country. Results suggest many courts are adopting an ad hoc approach to issues related to community service such as eligibility, mandate lengths, compliance, and oversight of outside service programs. Numerous findings also suggest current practices are undercutting the potential of community service to act as an alternative to fines and fees.

The study concludes with a series of recommendations—most notably, a call for further research to help in developing the shared standards and evidence-based models the field currently lacks.  

On our New Thinking podcast, a discussion of our report's findings with Joanna Weiss of the Fines and Fees Justice Center.

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Mass. lawmakers to wade into fierce debate over court-mandated mental health care

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  • Deborah Becker

It was a spaghetti dinner that made Rachel Cappucci try to force her brother to get mental health care.

Brad Cappucci, who was 29 at the time, had cooked the meal at 3 a.m. and then left the stove on unattended. Luckily, their mother discovered it before any major damage was done.

His lapse was the latest in a series of potentially dangerous, erratic behaviors — a sharp downward spiral that left Brad's family desperately searching for help.

"There really was not a resource other than voluntary therapy or seeing a psychiatrist," Rachel Cappucci said. "He didn't want that. He didn't think anything was going on."

But Cappucci knew something was wrong. She said she'd always looked up to Brad, who was a star athlete in high school and graduated from college with honors. Yet, in just a few years he had become reclusive, irrational and delusional.

Rachel Cappucci at her home in Shrewsbury. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In 2017, Brad was living in the basement of their childhood home in Shrewsbury. He often appeared disheveled and was sometimes bruised from hitting himself. After the spaghetti dinner, Cappucci and her mom sought an involuntary psychiatric commitment for Brad.

"At that point, with treatment, I really believed that Brad could come back from this," Cappucci said.

Under a Massachusetts law known as Section 12, a judge can be asked to compel a person to enter a psychiatric facility for an evaluation and possible treatment. But the judge determined that Brad did not meet the legal requirement of posing a harm to himself or others. He was soon released.

Once a patient leaves a mental health facility, there is no mechanism in state law to require the person to continue treatment.  Massachusetts is one of three states that does not allow judges to mandate outpatient mental health care, a process sometimes called "assisted outpatient treatment" or "involuntary outpatient commitment."

Cappucci wonders whether a change in state law could have helped her brother and others like him who struggle with their mental health but refuse treatment.

State Sen. Cindy Friedman, a Middlesex Democrat, has renewed a legislative push to allow court-ordered outpatient mental health care in Massachusetts. Her bill , "An Act to Provide Critical Community Services," is expected to prompt fierce debate at the State House.

Most mental health advocacy groups in Massachusetts are opposed to the proposal. They argue the government should not be involved in overseeing mental health care, and they say the state should focus its limited resources on improving voluntary mental health treatment, rather than forcing it on people who don't want it and adding new court costs.

But supporters, among them many family members who have struggled to get care for loved ones, say court mandates might assist some people who need help. They argue that a new legal tool could prevent some hospitalizations and reduce incarceration for people with mental illness.

Lawmakers are expected to hear emotional testimony from both sides, including families like the Cappuccis and their story of what happened to Brad.

The struggle to get mental health care

Rachel Cappucci said Brad didn't show signs that he was struggling with his mental health until his late 20s. After graduating from college, he was living on his own and working as an economist. It came as a surprise when Brad's employer called their mom, who was Brad's emergency contact, and recommended a psychological evaluation because Brad had been missing work.

"Brad was the portrait of responsibility," Cappucci said. "Finding out he wasn't showing up to his job, you know, that was new."

The Cappucci family celebrating Brad's graduation from college. (Courtesy Rachel Cappucci)

Brad soon lost his job and moved back in with their mom in Shrewsbury. He was sleeping most of the time, stopped making eye contact and was rarely communicative. Rachel and her mom thought Brad was depressed or perhaps needed a break.

The Cappuccis asked a series of judges to order Brad to get treatment, but without success. Cappucci said Brad became increasingly hostile and continued to deteriorate.

"It got to the point where there was no rational conversation," Cappucci said. "He didn't want anyone looking at him, took clocks off the walls, family photos down, urinated in empty laundry detergent bottles so he didn't have to go upstairs. I would say eventually [he was] in a psychotic state permanently."

In 2019, Brad was formally diagnosed with schizophrenia, a brain disorder characterized by unusual perceptions and losing touch with reality. It can include delusions, hallucinations and the inability to form coherent thoughts. Treatment typically involves medication combined with therapy and skills training.

Although exact estimates are unknown, schizophrenia is believed to affect millions of people around the world. It is often diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Cappucci thought the diagnosis might finally result in meaningful treatment for Brad. The family again asked a judge to commit him to a psychiatric facility. At a hearing, Brad again was released because the judge determined that he wasn't likely to harm himself or others.

"It was so troubling to think that there we were — in obvious crisis — and the court just told him to go back home." Rachel Cappucci

"It felt like without a clear suicide attempt there was nothing they were going to do," Cappucci said. "It was so troubling to think that there we were — in obvious crisis — and the court just told him to go back home."

After the hearing, Brad said he was going west for a job. He communicated with his family sporadically for a time, and then not at all. Cappucci tried not to worry.

But in late December 2021, the Cappuccis heard from police. Authorities had found what were believed to be Brad's remains in a wooded area outside Yellowstone National Park, where he apparently had been living. A coroner's report said Brad died of hypothermia. He was 33 years old.

"I know he didn't want to die," Cappucci said."But there was no place for him. He was homeless, and that's the harsh truth. He was loved, and he needed help. But nobody helped. And I don't believe that there are systems in place to do that for anyone."

Advocates debate involuntary treatment

According to The Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit group that advocates for involuntary commitment laws, schizophrenia affects more than 62,000 people in Massachusetts. The center estimates that as many as half of those with schizophrenia also have a condition known as anosognosia — where the patient is unaware of the extent of their illness. The center supports the Massachusetts effort to civilly commit some patients to outpatient mental health care.

The proposed Massachusetts legislation would establish several criteria for court-ordered treatment. A patient would have to be an adult with a serious mental illness diagnosis and be deemed "gravely disabled." The measure also would require a recent history of psychiatric hospitalizations, violence or threats of violence. State Sen. Friedman, the bill's sponsor, said it could help disrupt a cycle of poorly treated mental illness resulting in criminal charges, homelessness, incarceration and sometimes tragedy.

Friedman said she has heard from a number of people whose loved ones are in jail after "serious crimes that were committed because of their very serious mental illness — and their families and loved ones' complete lack of ability to get them help before something awful had happened."

This bill is different from prior legislation, she said, because it contains narrow criteria and would affect only a small number of people experiencing severe mental illness. Under the bill, Friedman said, people would not be punished for not complying with treatment.

"We don't want to take away people's rights," Friedman said. "But is it really fair to make them go through this incredible psychological trauma because of their illness? This is about treatment and treatment services, and it puts the state on the hook."

But many mental health and legal groups oppose the idea of forcing people into treatment. The Wildflower Alliance, a group that advocates for peer support and fewer medical interventions for mental health, plans to gather advocates at the State House this spring to urge lawmakers not to support the legislation . The alliance's director, Sera Davidow, said legislators' priority should be improving the existing mental health care system, which she sees as broken and overly focused on psychiatric medications.

“We already have a ton of people getting the treatments that involuntary outpatient commitment would force, and they’re not doing well," Davidow said.

Opponents like Davidow acknowledged that mental health care can be difficult to access, but they said court-mandated treatment can harm people by taking away their agency.

"I understand the pain of a lot of families when a loved one is suffering with mental illness. What we are pushing for is less coercive treatment or non-coercive treatment." Thomas Brown, Mass. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Collaborative

"I understand the pain of a lot of families when a loved one is suffering with mental illness," said Thomas Brown, president of the Massachusetts Psychiatric Rehabilitation Collaborative, another mental health advocacy group. "What we are pushing for is less coercive treatment or non-coercive treatment. We believe that there are alternatives to forced treatment."

The Disability Law Center, another Massachusetts group that opposes the bill, wrote an analysis that found little evidence that court-mandated treatment is effective. The group also pointed to research indicating that it is disproportionately used for people of color.

"It's coercive and it interferes with personal dignity and human rights," said Rick Glassman, the center's director of advocacy. "It diverts resources from people who really want treatment."

The research on court-mandated outpatient treatment is mixed, and states implement their programs differently. Some studies show no improvement in treatment compliance or hospitalization rates in places where courts can compel treatment.

But other studies link involuntary commitment programs to reduced hospitalization and incarceration. Susan McMahon, associate professor of law at Arizona State University, consulted with a national task force on courts and mental health . She said it's unclear whether the positive outcomes reported by some states are solely because of involuntary treatment orders.

"The question, that a lot of people still have which really hasn't been answered is, is it successful because of the court-ordered component of it? Or is it successful because of the wraparound services that these people have access to that they wouldn't otherwise have," McMahon said.

The Committee for Public Counsel Services, the state's public defender agency, has testified against similar legislation in the past, citing concerns that neither the courts nor the mental health system have the resources to implement an effective program. The group has also said there aren't enough legal protections for patients.

Boston's experiment with court-ordered mental health care

There are some providers who believe a judge's authority can help at least some patients stay in treatment. Boston Medical Center clinician Leila Spencer said she's experienced this. It's sometimes referred to as the "black robe effect."

"I'll make a recommendation to a client until I'm blue in the face, and it's, 'Nope, nope, nope,' " Spencer said. "And then it comes from the bench, and it just holds a lot more weight."

Spencer manages the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment — or BOAT — Program, a pilot for people facing criminal charges in Boston Municipal Court. Although participation is voluntary, state Sen. Friedman and others point to the program as an example of how court-mandated outpatient treatment might work across the state.  

Participants are chosen based on their mental health history and criminal charges. They receive intensive services including treatment, coaching and housing assistance. Boston Medical Center clinicians monitor their care and make recommendations to the judge. On average, four social service providers work with each participant.

Attorney Aidan Stuart speaks on behalf of his client Kamari Hope during a hearing at Roxbury District Court. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Recent graduate Kamari Hope said the program changed his life. At 39, he had been in psychiatric hospitals several times after suicide attempts. He said treatment never seemed to help his depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Through the program, he found a combination of medications and therapy that work for him.

"In every aspect of my life this has helped me, including the people I never thought would try to help me — a judge, the prosecution," he said.

Hope was required to take psychiatric medications and get counseling. In the past, Hope said he couldn't hold down a job. He didn't take care of himself and would often become irrationally angry.

"I think about the person I was a little over a year ago, and it makes me sad," he said.

Now, Hope works two jobs and is reconnecting with his 7-year-old son.

Because he completed the BOAT Program and complied with treatment, prosecutors dropped the criminal charges against Hope. If he had not complied, his case would have been adjudicated in a regular court session.

Justice David Weingarten shakes the hand of Kamari Hope, congratulating him upon his completion of the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment Program during a hearing at Roxbury District Court. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Since it began in 2020, the BOAT Program has served 163 people, and 31 have graduated. The pilot is funded through a four-year $4 million federal grant.

Judge Kathleen Coffey, the program's director, acknowledged that the array of services offered is rare, but she said courts have to figure out a way to deal with the increasing number of people with mental illnesses entangled in the criminal legal system.

"As judges, it is our responsibility to help people become productive members of society," Coffey said. "In my mind that's what justice is all about."

Last summer, Rachel Cappucci and her mother traveled to the site in Wyoming where her brother Brad's remains were found. She said she doesn't know if involuntary treatment might have helped, but she believes there should be more support for families like hers who felt they didn't have anywhere to turn. She said she hopes that by telling her story, she can advocate for improvements in mental health treatment — court-ordered or not.

"I don't know if spiritually I needed to go to where Brad was, but I knew I needed to lay down on the ground there," Cappucci said. "It helped to see how beautiful it was."

"There has got to be a solution," she added. "I can't imagine how often this has occurred, and it's just going to keep occurring until there's a major shift in the way we look at folks with mental illness."

This segment aired on March 13, 2023.

  • A woman's journey through mental health: Naomi Jackson documents her struggle with bipolar disorder
  • As ER waits stretch for days, Mass. turns to in-home care for children's mental health

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Deborah Becker Host/Reporter Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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court ordered community service massachusetts

Court Ordered Community Service

Court ordered community service - program overview.

Join the Durham Rescue Mission’s Court-Ordered Community Service Program!

Are you looking for an opportunity to fulfill your court-ordered community service hours while making a positive impact on your community? The Durham Rescue Mission invites you to be a part of our program, where you can help those in need and complete your required hours with dignity and purpose.

Here’s how to sign up:

  • We welcome you Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm.
  • Ask for the Volunteer Office, and our friendly staff will guide you through the process.
  • Please bring a valid picture ID for verification.

Once you’ve joined our program, we will assign you to one of seven locations throughout the Triangle area, making it convenient for you to serve the community. 

When you’ve successfully completed your required hours, we will provide you with a verification letter confirming your dedication and commitment to your community.

When you come to register, we will discuss the hours and the various opportunities we have available to meet your specific scheduling needs.

Make a difference while fulfilling your obligations. Join us at the Durham Rescue Mission and be a part of something greater.

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The Durham Rescue Mission has been recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible as allowable by law. EIN: 58-1482590

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  • Must provide a photo I.D. within 30 days of your acceptance into the DRM program.
  • Help out with chores around the Mission.
  • No sex offender of any type (pending, charged, registered and/or any other sex related offenses) will be permitted to check in.
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Court-Ordered Volunteers

If you have court-ordered community service hours to complete, you may be able to find opportunities through the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center.

HOW TO GET STARTED

To sign up for projects or express interest to get contact information on opportunities, you must first be registered on this site.

Please note: Individuals who have been convicted of or charged with any crime involving or relating to child abuse or neglect, child pornography, child abduction, or any other violent offense, including kidnapping, rape or any sexual offense, or who have ever been ordered by a court to receive psychiatric or psychological treatment in connection with such crime or crimes are NOT permitted to register on this site.

By law, you must notify any organization you wish to volunteer for that you have court-ordered community service hours to complete and provide information on the nature of your offense. Failure to notify the organization may result in an inability to verify hours completed.

There is one way to find volunteer opportunities where court-ordered volunteers are permitted. Please note: you MUST notify each organization of your offense and the number of hours you need to complete.

  • Enter all required information in the "Basic Search Box"
  • Be sure under "Additional Filters" you click "Appropriate For"
  • Check the box for "Court Ordered Volunteers"
  • Select any other filters you wish to search by
  • Click "Refine"

Depending upon the type of project you select, you will be given the choice to:

  • Express Interest - the community organization will contact you directly with further information about the opportunity and how to sign up. An automated e-mail will also be sent to you, with contact information for the community organization, so that you can follow up with them if you do not get a response.
  • Sign Up - you will be automatically signed up for that project and will receive a confirmation e-mail containing all of the information you will need.

Whenever you attend a project, we strongly recommend that you get a community organization official to verify the hours you have served at the end of the project. It is often difficult to get verification of hours at a later date.

Please Note: The Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center is not able to verify any hours for projects that are not managed by us. If you have signed up to attend a Volunteer Center project, here is a community service log to help verify and track your hours.

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  9. Court-ordered Community Service

    This form is for COURT-ORDERED Community Service hours only. If you need community service hours for school, work, church, etc. please fill out the Volunteer Application. Applicant Information. All community service workers must be at least 16 years or older. All minor volunteers must have a signed waiver on file; parents must come in to the ...

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    School and Court-Ordered Community Service Information. We try to accommodate requests for community service hours as much as possible. Please do not sign up for a shift until you have completed a Community Service Scheduling Form and contacted our Volunteer Manager at (978) 348-2749 x205 or via email to discuss requirements and available ...

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  21. Court-Ordered Volunteers

    Step 2: Notify Us. By law, you must notify any organization you wish to volunteer for that you have court-ordered community service hours to complete and provide information on the nature of your offense. Failure to notify the organization may result in an inability to verify hours completed. Step 3: Find Volunteer Opportunities.