A Community Service Order (C.S.O.) is a community-based sentencing option available to the courts in which an offender is mandated to perform a pre-determined number of community service hours, usually at a local non-profit organization. The C.S.O. Program permits eligible individuals who have committed minor infractions to remain in the community, as opposed to being sent to jail. Program participants have demonstrated an interest in paying their debt to society by working in their community.

A C.S.O. is typically a condition of an offender’s probation order. However, it can also be part of a conditional sentence or a separate order of disposition, in the case of a young person.

The John Howard Society of Niagara has been delivering the C.S.O. Program to Niagara communities since 1979.