Church of jail? US city mulls plan to offer choice

2011-10-01 08:03

Authorities in the southern US state of Alabama are studying how to implement one city’s proposal for first-time, non-violent offenders to choose between church or jail.

The Restore Our Community programme, or Operation ROC, launched by police in the city of Bay Minette, is currently under legal review.

It would offer first-time offenders of misdemeanors the option of attending church once a week for a year or going to jail and paying a fine.

But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a rights group, says the proposal “flagrantly” violates both state and federal laws regarding separation of church and state.

In a letter sent to city leaders demanding an immediate end to the programme, the ACLU’s also requested public records on the proposal’s development and creation.

“It’s good to hear they are delaying implementation,” Alabama ACLU executive director Olivia Turner said.

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