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|September 2, 2008
Director of Communications
Pay Off Court Fines Performing Community Service Work
At Norfolk County Sanctuaries for Abused and Neglected Animals
Norfolk County offenders have logged in nearly
2,000 hours of community service work at a sanctuary for abused
and neglected animals as well as two animal shelters in compliance
with the conditions of their probation.
This work and hundreds of other clean-up, beautification,
and preservation efforts are performed across the Commonwealth
as part of the Massachusetts Trial Court Community Service Program.
Over the past year, a total of 428,224 hours of work have been
performed by probationers across the state as ordered by the
Community Service crews from the Norfolk County
Community Service Program, a total of 480 offenders, have been
transported to the Winslow Farms Animal Sanctuary in Norton,
the Charmacy Wildlife Sanctuary in Holbrook and the North Attleboro
Animal Shelter where they do landscaping, clean out stalls, repair
fences, and create gravel walkways.
“These services assist the shelters and sanctuaries
with work that is costly. It saves them funding which is better
spent on provisions for the animals they keep,” said Christopher
D. Cannata, Acting Assistant Statewide Supervisor for the Office
of Community Corrections.
“Helping animal shelters and sanctuaries
gives the offenders a change from the usual worksite, providing
the opportunity to actually work among the animals and to appreciate
the effort it takes to care for them,” said Wally Skinner,
Norfolk County Court Services Coordinator.
Winslow Farms Owner Debbie White refers to the
community service crews as a “blessing.”
“On a scale of one to 10, I give the probationers
and the community service program a 10,” White said.
White, who first opened the 11-acre farm 12 years
ago, began using community service crews ten years ago and has
even hired six to seven probationers as employees after their
probation ended with the courts. The farm began a dozen years
ago with just two horses, one goose, and a few rabbits and has
expanded to 300 animals.
“I think of having probationers work here
as a positive. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance.
This is a non-judgmental environment. I have a very high work
ethic, high standards and we don’t have any slackers here,” she
White added, “I have never had a problem
with a probationer once. If the individual shows a good work
effort, I bring them back as employees.”
Probationers’ work at the farm includes cleaning
up the barnyard area, tilling the stalls with stone and sand,
and performing landscaping duties.
Marcy Jeppe, President and Director of the Charmacy
Wildlife Center in Holbrook, said of the community service work
performed at the sanctuary for birds of prey, “They (offenders)
have been extremely helpful. They have come in and made amazing
changes. It’s a win-win situation. The property looks different
because of their efforts.”
As a non-profit, the Charmacy Wildlife Center accepts
donations only, Jeppe said.
Offenders perform landscaping duties such as mowing
grass, taming overgrown weeds and creating more open spaces.
Work has also included repairing picket fences.
The Center currently has “15 permanent residents” which
include hawks and owls.
“They (probationers) have really accomplished
a lot,” Jeppe said.
The Trial Court Community Service Program is a
division of the Office of Community Corrections (OCC). OCC is
an independent division of the Office of the Commissioner of
Probation, the administrative office for the Massachusetts Probation
Service which is comprised of 105 probation departments throughout