Churches play key role in fugitive safe surrender

The News Leader

November 2, 2010 11:47:29 AM PDT
Law enforcement officials say a program that allows people wanted by the law to turn themselves in safely wouldn't succeed without the crucial participation of local churches.

In New Jersey, the third "Fugitive Safe Surrender" will take place this week at a church in Somerset.

The program is aimed at nonviolent offenders. Many are wanted for drug possession, traffic violations or unpaid child support.

Across the country, more than 25,000 people have turned themselves in at churches as part of safe-surrender programs.

Supporters say the program gives offenders the opportunity to get their lives back on track.

But advocates of church-state separation worry that it blurs lines between government and religious institutions.

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