KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — The quarterly meeting for Community Corrections started out on a cheerful note as two success stories were shared with the board during the meeting held Monday night, Jan. 9.
“We are here today, instead of recognizing them as numbers, but as potential rehabilitated clients in the community,” said Anna Bailey as she introduced the two men. “We would like to recognize the hard work of both of you guys.”
Shawn Morton first joined Community Corrections on Aug. 21, 2016. WIthin two days he had a part-time job and within a few months was employed full-time. He has been rebuilding relationships with his family. Morton is currently a house leader at Serenity House.
“He has shown us the determination that can only be surpassed by few that come through our program,” said Bailey.
Steven Mullins entered the program on Oct. 26, 2016. He gained employment within his first week of Community Corrections. Even when a family member got sick, Mullins stuck with the program and continued to succeed.
“Mr. Mullins not only showed us how tenacious he really was, but how resilient he had become through the program,” said Bailey.
“Now the board can see that we are not only just a program,” commented Bailey. “But that we also have success stories coming through our program.”
Board members brought up the possibility of adding a new program to Community Corrections, Forensic Diversion. The Forensic Division would address low-risk, high need individuals. To be eligible for the program, individuals would have to have a mental or addictive disorder that has been clinically diagnosed.
The program would be offered to level 6 felonies through misdemeanors. Pleading guilty to the crime would result in deferred prosecution through the 18 month program. If individuals successfully completed the program, their charges would then be dismissed.
It was brought up that the program would also be a good fit for juveniles that fit the requirements. Currently, Community Corrections does not address juveniles.
Funds for the program were already put into the 2018 budget, which was also brought forward at the meeting. The board approved the budget, including the Forensic Diversion funds. This means that the program could be implemented when the budget begins in July, depending on the boards decision at a later date.
In other news:
- The board is still searching for a new director. The board voted on, and approved getting rid of the 4-year degree requirement for the position as long as the applicant has equivalent experience. The board is waiting for Common Council’s decision on the wage adjustment before moving forward with a further decision.
- The program currently has 43 people on home monitoring, 11 successful graduates and 18 people approved to join the program.
- The board approved purchasing a money counter with a printer for the office.