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 Non-violent offenders in Bay Minette, Alabama now have a choice: do time behind bars or work off the sentence in church.

Operation Restore Our Community or “ROC”…begins next week. The city judge will either let  misdemeanor offenders work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine or go to church every Sunday for a year.

 If offenders elect church, they’re allowed to pick the place of worship, but must check in weekly with the pastor and the police department. If the one-year church attendance program is completed successfully, the offender’s case will be dismissed.

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Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland says it costs his department about 75 bucks per inmate per day. Rowland says the ROC program will be cost-effective and could change the lives of many people heading down the wrong path.

So far, 56 churches in North Baldwin County are participating in ROC.

Rowland says the program is legal and doesn’t violate separation of church and state issues because it allows the offender to choose church or jail…and the church of their choice.

Source: Urban Christian News

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