A program developed by Oklahoma County Commissioner (District 2) Brian Maughan was recognized last month by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as one of the “Bright Ideas” in governance.

Maughan and Oklahoma County leadership were lauded for the design of the SHINE program – one of four programs noted by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation for local government programs that deal specifically with criminal offenders. This year, there were a total of 111 local, county, state and federal government programs recognized as Bright Ideas in a variety of policy categories.

SHINE stands for Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere.  The program deploys low-level offenders sentenced to community service in an organized, structured, and fully supervised program to clean up, beautify, and make Central Oklahoma neighborhoods safer. Offenders work on structured crews to clean up litter, remove graffiti, clear brush, clean up illegal dumping areas, and even set up and tear down seating for community events.

The Oklahoma County Commissioners, the City of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, and the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Offices helped champion the program which was implemented in 2010.

According the Maughan, the program is successful because it keeps offenders out of jail and busy with county-wide projects that require field labor. The program has saved the county over $1.5 million in jailing costs alone. SHINE has enrolled over 9,000 offenders who have logged in more than 140,000 hours of work.

Maughan cites many success stories of the SHINE program in the past two years, including cleanup of Crooked Oak School, Capitol Hill High School and Crystal Lake, where over 3,400 tires were removed.

Last session, the Oklahoma State Legislature passed the Safari McDoulett Community Service Act, which allows judges to impose fees on any person convicted of or pleading guilty to a felony. Those fees will provide administrative and maintenance funding for the SHINE program.

The SHINE program is designed to be replicated. There is also a community service companion program designed for high school students called Students for SHINE.

Anyone wanting more information can call Commissioner Maughan at 713-1502.

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