DETROIT, MI--(Marketwire -03/06/12)- At Community Service Help, www.communityservicehelp.com, the brainchild of Adam Young, criminals sentenced to community service get credit for taking classes like algebra and English instead of picking up trash.
The site offers more than 2,500 courses and works with federally recognized charities that have agreed to sponsor offenders' community service, Young says.
Statistics show a high correlation between crime and lack of education: The less education a person has, the more likely he or she will end up in jail or prison. Once in prison, the more education an inmate receives, the greater the chance he or she will remain free once released.
"The correlation is so dramatic, I can't understand why we as a nation don't look for opportunities to provide education to people who've already had a brush with the law," Young says.
"About 40 percent of all U.S. prison inmates never finished high school, and nearly 44 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school," he says, quoting from a 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. "More current data shows that hasn't changed. In Washington, D.C., for instance, 44 percent of Department of Corrections inmates are not high school graduates. Less than 2 percent had 16 years or more of schooling.
"Isn't it better for all of us, for both economic and public safety reasons, if we help educate people so they can get jobs?" he asks. "If states want to save money, they should address recidivism through programs that include education. A 2011 Pew Center study that found the 10 states with the highest recidivism rates could save $470 million a year, each, if they lower those numbers by just 10 percent."
Young's site, launched in January 2011, has already logged more than 300,000 hours of education, he says.
As an added benefit, offenders don't risk losing their jobs because of time off for community service. Learning on-line can be tailored to their schedule.
About Adam Young
Adam Young is a longtime internet marketing professional whose community service alternative was inspired by his own minor brush with the law as an 18-year-old. The community service hours he received cost him his job and nearly caused him to drop out of college. Young advocates education as the most cost-effective tool for rehabilitating offenders.