Chris Brown Case Begs The Question: What Is Community Labor Service?

Brown is scheduled to be sentenced later today in his assault case.

In June, when Chris Brown struck a plea deal in his assault case involving [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist], it was announced the singer would be sentenced to five years’ probation, ordered to attend weekly counseling and also participate in community labor service.

While probation and counseling are familiar enough terms for most, many wondered: What is community labor service? Would [artist id="1961441"]Brown[/artist] be able to speak to kids about his mistakes like T.I. did? Not quite. He could be enduring some pretty heavy manual work.

Although there’s no set definition among parole departments in the country, legal scholars Gregg W. Etter and Judy Hammond wrote an article in 2001 called “Community Service Work as a Part of Offender Rehabilitation.” The case study suggested that community labor service, also known as community service work, is a way to turn “resource takers to resource providers.” So instead of taxpayers shelling out money to house additional bodies in prison, criminal offenders can instead contribute by assisting with “graffiti removal or roadside cleanup,” as it was reported the judge in Brown’s case is pushing for .

Brown is scheduled to be sentenced in Los Angeles, the scene of his offense back in February, on Wednesday (August 5). But it’s been speculated that Brown will return to his home state of Virginia for his punishment.

Ann Barker is the chief officer for the Probation & Parole District 33 office in Virginia. Her office oversees Essex County, which includes Tappahanauk, where Brown was born. Barker told MTV News that she was unsure which office Brown would be assigned to for his probation, but if it were her office or any office throughout Virginia, officials would “try to enforce the order of another state.” However, Barker noted that each commonwealth has its own set of rules when it comes to community service work.

In her district, for example, Barker said an offender could be required to work in the local library, for the school district cleaning buses or even picking up roadside trash, among other activities.

“Different offices have different relationships with [community organizations],” she said.

When word first broke that Brown stuck a plea deal, the reaction was mixed . Some felt the singer got off too easy, arguing he should go to prison as a result of his actions. But legal expert Peter T. Haven, who followed the case, said Brown might have dodged jail time , but his community service work will still be plenty tough.

“It’s not a walk in the park,” Haven told MTV News last month. “But say if he did jail time as a part of his plea, he probably wouldn’t have served the full term — he probably would have done less. He would have gotten out earlier, and the whole thing would have been done. When you’re in jail, it’s also hard to violate the terms of your probation. When you voluntarily take it upon yourself to take these things on yourself and have to show up yourself, that leaves a lot of room for error.

“Some lawyers have recommended jail to their clients,” he added. “Because if you screw up [your service], you’re gonna get more than just 180 days.”