Sep 26, 2011

Jail... or Church

The city of Bay Minette, Alabama, has launched a new initiative that allows non-violent offenders to choose between doing time behind bars, or spending their Sundays at church.

The initiative, called Operation Restore Our Community, will ostensibly reduce the financial burden of locking up convicted criminals by allowing them to work off their sentence at a church of their choice.
Offenders must check in with their pastor and the police department on a weekly basis. If they attend church every Sunday for a year, their case will be dismissed.

Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland says the program is not in violation of church-state separation laws because the choice between church and jail is left up to the offenders. Uh, sure. I wonder how the ACLU and the Federal Courts will think of that? They'll probably have to be forced to have this read to them, outloud, with the bailiff pulling their fingers out of their ears...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Think of the cash this is going to cost Bay Minette to defend this monstrosity? A lot more than putting these non-violent offenders in the lockup for a couple months. What happened to community service as an option?

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