For immediate release: April 21, 2006
For further information contact: Trial Court Administrator's Office
Jude Del Preore or Donna Mazzanti
Superior Court of New Jersey
49 Rancocas Road
Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060
Courts Assisting Communities through Labor Initiative
MOUNT HOLLY - Burlington County residents may not realize it, but many nonprofit agencies that provide services to them and to their neighbors are powered by free labor from probationers whose sentences require them to perform community service.
These offenders are giving back to their communities. They may be referred by a municipal court or by Burlington County Superior Court for a number of offenses, including motor vehicle matters, juvenile delinquency, or minor theft or burglary. A host of nonprofit agencies sponsor them, and they are closely supervised by the Burlington County Probation Division, a part of the New Jersey court system. Together, these probationers and their host agencies are improving the quality of life for residents across Burlington County.
One such agency is Concerned Citizens of Buckingham Park, which serves various parts of Willingboro. Probationers perform a multitude of tasks, from picking up trash on the streets and inside of the parks to beautifying the schools and cleaning up, a part of the New Jersey court system graffiti. Thomas Floyd, coordinator of Concerned Citizens, stated, "We haven't had to repaint areas of the township since we had the juveniles start cleaning the graffiti. We have been doing this for seven years." He added, "Ninety percent of our workforce is from the Probation community service program, and 70 percent of our projects are the probationers' ideas." One probationer, an engineer by profession, designed a way to clean the streets more efficiently by mapping the township into sections.
Sacred Heart Church in Riverton is another community service recipient. There, probationers help with senior citizen functions and other church activities. St. Martin in the Fields Church has juvenile probationers assist with their hoagie sales. "This program gives youth the opportunity to work with adults who are not only sympathetic, but who really appreciate them," said Dr. Lou Blum, Senior Warden for St. Martin in the Fields Church and coordinator of the hoagie sales.
Last year, 1,768 probationers provided 49,716 hours of community service to government and non-profit organizations across Burlington County. Nonprofit organizations that would like to participate in the program may contact the Probation Division at 609-518-2885 for more information.