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Criminals in Alabama Town Can Now Choose Church Over Jail

Authorities say non-violent offenders in Bay Minette, Ala. now have a new choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for a year.

WKRG-TV reports that Operation Restore Our Community begins next week.

The city judge 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 will be allowed to pick the place of worship but must check in weekly with the pastor and the police department.

If the one-year church attendance program is completed successfully, 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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