Ala. town's criminals get choice: Jail or church

Authorities say non-violent offenders in southern Alabama will have a new choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for a year. CBS

BAY MINETTE, Ala. - Authorities say non-violent offenders in southern Alabama will have a new choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for a year.

CBS News affiliate WKRG-TV in Mobile reports that Operation Restore Our Community begins next week.

(Scroll down to watch a report from WKRG-TV)

The city judge in Bay Minette 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'll be allowed to pick the place of worship but must check in weekly with the pastor and police.

If the one-year church attendance program is completed, the offender's case will be dismissed.

Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland says the program could change the lives of people heading down the wrong path. So far, 56 churches are participating.

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