Thursday, September 27, 2012
An Oklahoma County community service program has received national recognition for its efforts to reintegrate offenders into the community.
The SHINE program — which stands for Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere — was one of 111 “Bright Ideas” designees for 2012, according to an announcement made Tuesday by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
The program — which puts nonviolent offenders on supervised county work crews for litter, brush and graffiti cleanup — was honored for its creativity in addressing these conditions while reintegrating the offenders through a community project, the center announced in a news release.
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan developed the program in 2010, and recently helped secure legislation to provide a permanent funding source and allow expansion of the program to counties across the state.
Maughan said nearly 150,000 labor hours have been completed under SHINE since its inception, including a months-long cleanup and restoration project at Crystal Lake Park in west Oklahoma City. He said the program saves the county $1.5 million annually by keeping low-level offenders out of the county jail.
“One of the best things about this awards program is that it makes information available about innovative government programs that can be copied and adopted elsewhere,” Maughan said. “So far we have seen a great deal of interest from other counties and cities both within Oklahoma and in other states who are eager to replicate our success here.