The San Mateo County Court Work Program is a resource provided to the Courts. The program provides productive alternative sentencing for non-dangerous defendants in the form of public service work. Non-profit and government agencies volunteer to participate in the program by providing public service work opportunities. The Court Work Program provides a way for defendants to make positive contributions to the community. In addition, the program is an appropriate alternative for financially deprived defendants who are able to perform public service work but unable to pay fines.


The San Mateo County Court Work Program recruits volunteer non-profit, public and educational organizations to provide useful work activities for defendants who have been ordered to perform public service work. These organizations, which become our Public Service Work Agencies, provide defendants with work activity that benefits the agency, draws upon the defendant's skills, and provides an opportunity for the defendant to serve the community.

The work activities available to defendants include but are not limited to the following:

  • Hospital assistance
  • Assisting the disabled
  • Cleaning parks and beaches
  • Receptionist & Clerical work
  • Tutoring
  • Food service

Restrictions for public service work assignments prevent the defendant from the following: replacing a paid employee or filling a position for which compensation is available, driving a vehicle, collecting money, using power tools, or participating in political or religious proselytizing.

PUBLIC SERVICE WORK - Tangible Community Benefit

Two Alternative Sentencing Officers evaluate, place, and monitor the progress of over 1,500 defendants every month. Each month, the Court Work program provides the community with public service work valued at over $100,000. In addition, thousands of tax dollars are saved each month by using the Court Work program versus relying on unnecessary detention. The program makes an impact in the lives of the defendants by aiding in their rehabilitation and helping them become productive citizens.

THE COURT WORK PROGRAM - Support and Supervision

The Court Work Program assigns an Alternative Sentencing Officer to all defendants who are ordered to perform public service work. These Alternative Sentencing Officers maintain records and coordinate communication between the Program, the Courts, Public Service Work Agencies, defendants and other case-related professionals.

The Alternatives Sentencing Officers protect Public Service Work Agencies by making suitable and appropriate referrals. They screen all defendants based upon the requirements of the agencies and the defendant's entire criminal history. The Court Work Program maintains on-going communication with Public Service Work Agencies through regular field contacts. The program notifies Public Service Work Agencies when policy and procedural changes occur and has an Alternative Sentencing Officer available by phone during regular office hours.


Your organization can become one of the many Public Service Work Agencies to support the Criminal Justice System, to contribute to community service, to redirect individuals towards becoming more productive citizens, and to benefit from a valuable work resource.