WARSAW — Despite being short-staffed, in part due to the departure of two employees who are facing criminal charges, day-to-day operations are continuing at Kosciusko County Community Corrections.
The department has been under a cloud of concern in recent weeks after its director, Anna Bailey, and an administrative assistant, Taylor Pagan, left their positions and were then criminally charged after it came to light that an offender in the program was spending a significant amount of time at Pagan’s residence. This allegedly included overnight visits.
That comes after another community corrections officer was sentenced a month earlier in a 2017 case in which he removed a monitoring bracelet from a female offender he was supervising and took her to Valparaiso for a weekend.
On Dec. 12, the KCCC advisory board announced it would halt any new entrants into the electronic monitoring program for at least 30 days. At the meeting, KCCC Interim Director Barry Andrew said it would be in the best interest of the program if they take the time to rebuild and solidify in order to move forward in a positive direction.
Despite halting new entrants into the program until at least Jan. 12, the office continues to function, according to Andrew.
“We are functioning,” Andrew said. “We are successfully completing our daily duties and providing a good work environment for the current staff and good opportunities for participants in the program to continue to reach their goals while on home detention.”
On Dec. 17, arrest warrants were issued for Bailey, of South Bend; her former assistant Taylor Pagan, of Warsaw; and offender Steven Gasaway, of Syracuse, related to possible KCCC violations and criminal activity.
Bailey served as the director of Kosciusko County Community Corrections for nearly three years, having been named as the director in February 2017. She previously served as an officer within Community Corrections.
According to County Administrator Marsha McSherry, Pagan began as a co-op student in the clerk’s office in August 2014, transitioned to a full-time employee at the clerk’s office in May 2016 and transferred to Community Corrections in May 2017.
The Kosciusko County Community Corrections program was implemented in early 2015, with Kosciusko being one of the last eight counties in Indiana to establish a community corrections program.
During that time, there have been three different directors: Andrew, Kurt Jones and Bailey.
KCCC currently employs one full-time drug court case manager and three full-time home detention officers. Late last week, the kcgov.com website listed three job postings for the Community Corrections department, including openings for a director, a full-time administrative assistant and a full-time home detention officer.
The job posting for a director is no longer showing on the website.
KCCC’s Advisory Board will meet in executive session at 4 p.m. Monday to discuss personnel matters, according to an announcement issued Thursday.
When asked last week if he has any interest in staying on as director, Andrew responded, “My father-in-law tells me I should always explore all my options – I can always say no.”
The staff shortage comes at a crucial time, with the implementation of Criminal Rule 26 going into effect Jan. 1.
The state Supreme Court ruling will allow counties to release offenders they deem low-risk without bail — a term often known as “released on own recognizance” or “ROR.”
The purpose of the program is to decrease legal inequalities that allow people with money to bond out of jail, while those of limited means are forced to remain behind bars. It will also help reduce overcrowding in jails.
Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Hampton doesn’t think the impact of Criminal Rule 26 on KCCC will be extreme.
“For the higher risk arrestees, the court may require the arrestee to be monitored with a GPS device through the Kosciusko County Community Corrections Department,” said Hampton. “The local CR26 Committee has analyzed the current caseload and jail population and project a slight increase in the current caseload of the Kosciusko County Community Corrections due to the implementation of CR26.”
Andrew said the CR 26 committee has worked diligently to prepare for the changes that will occur with Criminal Rule 26.