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‘Deadbeat parents’ get community service, not jail starting Friday

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Parents who don't pay their child support will now be spending two days a week in a community service program, thanks to a bill passed last session.

It is in lieu of jail time and gives parents time to find a job in order to pay off their dues.

There's no legal definition of "deadbeat” on the books.

However, one district judge in Oklahoma County describes the term as, "Dads and  moms who have been ordered to pay child support who have not paid a single dime."

Some deadbeat parents blame unemployment but many have jobs.

Judge Jones said this bill will help promote and ensure stronger families and hopefully motivate some fathers and mother to get back in the workforce.

Offenders report to duty just like any other job.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan said, "They go right alongside the road crews. They're assisting in helping clean graffiti, help cleanup bar ditches, hobo huts, prostitution camps."

Jones said, "If you don't get a bump or a scrape then it's not worth it."

Tim Jones got into some trouble a while back and has been with SHINE since May.

Some community service jobs include picking up debris and trash from various locations around the metro.

Jones thinks adding deadbeat parents to the SHINE program is beneficial.

He said, "It would be a lot more profitable instead of spending taxpayers' money while they sit in jail. I mean, let's get out here and build our community like it should be."

Not to mention, an eye-awakening experience before breaking the law.

Jones said, "It makes you think twice before you get in trouble again."

This bill goes in effect Nov. 1.

Just to be clear, the community service does not pay off an offender’s child support.

The designers of the law said they felt making a parent work, rather than sit in jail, was a more constructive punishment.