STATEHOUSE (April 4, 2019) – Legislation authored by State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) providing offenders the option of performing community service in lieu of paying court fees heads to the governor’s desk and could soon become law.
Under current law, a convicted person who does not pay their court fees by a specified date defaults and can be sent to jail. Under Pressel’s legislation, a court could reduce some or all of the costs owed by a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor if they perform community service.
“Making offenders who default on their fees serve time in jail does not reimburse the court,” Pressel said. “Instead, taxpayers are left to foot the bill. By giving offenders an opportunity to work in their community, we can save taxpayer dollars and ensure they contribute something toward their debt.”
According to Pressel, courts could determine the number of hours volunteered, multiply the hours by the state minimum wage, and subtract that figure from the total amount owed. Pressel said giving offenders a chance to perform community service would help them re-enter the community and workforce, rather than continuing a cycle of sentences at the expense of taxpayers.
“This option could give offenders the tools they need not only to repay their debt, but also to change their path in life and create a more promising future,” Pressel said.
State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) represents House District 20,
which includes portions of LaPorte and Starke counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo of Pressel.