Community Service

On a short holiday trip one of my best friend brought up the topic on community service. Before obtaining his law degree he went to school in Singapore and one of the requirement to pass his high school was 1000 hours of community service.

He commented that the law in Indonesia still follows the old dutch system in regards to punishment. Initially there are only two kinds of punishment in Indonesia, jail time and fine with the recent addition of capital punishment which has been the topic of international debate of recent.

My friend proposed that Indonesia should have community service for minor infractions or as an addition to fine or jail sentence. Some might argue that community service punishment are borderline slavery, but if regulated properly it would have a positive contribution to the community.

In terms of minor infractions, persons with high amount of wealth would think twice if there is a community hour in addition to fines. Community hour would also expand the degree of the current punishment system.

One concern of community service is that it might take the jobs of low income workers. Proper control and combination of fines and community hours can mitigate and create more jobs / work for the government. The fine could be used to buy paint for painting sidewalks, and the hours could be used for the actual work. An understaffed hospital, zoos, disaster relief could benefit from a pool of man hours.

Of course this would only work in an ideal system of justice, but it needs to start from somewhere.

Adding community service as a requirement for school can be an educative experience for student as well. The sense of humbleness and contribution to the community should be built early before going to higher education. Students should have choices on available community services to try out which field they want to contribute to. As one said you have to try things out to find your passion, and what better way to find passion that contributes to the community ?

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