The Worldwide Religious News website reports today (September 23, 2011) that authorities in Bay Minette, Alabama have decided that non-violent offenders now have a choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for one year.
In the "Operation Restore Our Community" program -- which goes into effect next week -- the city judge will let misdemeanor offenders choose to work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine -- or go to church every Sunday for a year.
If offenders select church, they will be allowed to pick the place of worship, but must check in weekly with the pastor and the police department.
Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland said the program could change the lives of people heading down the wrong path. So far, 56 churches are participating.