Yokosuka toughens community service policy
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Not completing community-service hours could result in a loss of access to military bases under a new policy at Yokosuka.
Too many people were neglecting community service imposed as punishment, so Yokosuka added a “suspended debarment” to such assigned penalties, said the base’s staff judge advocate, Lt. Alison Shuler.
This means civilians and dependents who miss their scheduled community service on more than two occasions will be barred from all military installations in Japan. The new policy has been in place for just three months and already is making a difference, Shuler said.
“We’re seeing a lot more compliance,” she said Thursday.
The Civilian Administrative Forum, or CAF, created the suspended-debarment policy. The CAF hears cases of base civilians facing disciplinary measures for such offenses as shoplifting, assault, destruction of property and disrespecting security officers, said Arnold Webre Jr., who heads the program. Many of the offenders are minors, he said.
After the offender, a sponsor and an administrative hearing officer discuss an incident, the hearing officer restates the facts and makes a recommendation for community service. Adults usually work off their hours in the library or chapel, while minors normally pick up trash. Webre described the process as “pretty non-adversarial.”
The recommendation then goes to base commander, Capt. Daniel Weed, who can increase or decrease the recommended community service.
The suspended-debarment policy will be used if an offender fails to complete 25 hours of community service a month. A first offense garners a warning letter; the second mandates a meeting with the base’s chief staff officer; and a third strike results in debarment.
Debarment now means restriction from every military installation in Japan. But while any aspect of the disposition can be appealed, a CAF hearing is not a legal trial, Shuler said.
“CAF is not a trial, there are no charges, and there are no punishments,” Shuler said. “The captain does not have to go through due process to bar someone from base who is causing trouble. He is in charge of maintaining good order and discipline on the base.”