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Community Correction funding increases

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Fayette County Community Corrections will continue its efforts to rehabilitate people with a grant from the Indiana Department of Correction.

Data from the local Community Corrections program shows it is more successful at helping people than many similar programs.

“We have always been told that if you have a 20 percent success rate of people who do not re-offend, then that is considered a success,” Michele Dudley, the program’s director, said. 

 

Just over one-half of people sentenced to Community Corrections don’t return after completing their sentence. From July 1, 2017, the success rate for those who complete their sentence is 50.5 percent.

 

The county will receive a state grant for $1,069,824 for one year’s operations, beginning July 1. That includes the base Community Corrections grant of $435,000 plus funding for several other programs, Dudley said.

Funding for the coming fiscal year is $126,000 more than last year. That pays for one full-time community corrections case manager and classroom supplies, she said.

The department will receive $176,500 for jail treatment services, the same as in the past.

The prosecutor’s office will get $42,860 for a part-time deputy prosecutor and drug testing supplies.

The Fayette County Probation Department received $167,700, the same as last year. That pays for two probation officers and an administrative assistant.

The new drug court received $121,000. That will permit the hiring of a drug court coordinator, part-time deputy prosecutor, and funding for a public defender as well as supplies.

Drug court will increase the department’s case load because they will be involved in court activities, Dudley said.

A 2016 change in the Indiana criminal code has placed more of a burden on local corrections facilities. Persons convicted of a Level 6 felony can no longer be sent to a state Department of Correction facility but must be held in a local jail or corrections program.

Since she became director in 2012, the number of people with ankle bracelets that case managers must monitor has increased from about 30 to 95-100, Dudley said.

The department now supervises 21 people on community service work crews, 49 on home detention, seven in the community transition program, five on day reporting, 29 in jail treatment and 31 on work release, a total of 142.

Inmates at the jail can receive all the programs offered, about 15-20 classes. Community Corrections case managers offer classes in anger management, Thinking for a Change, Criminal and Addictive Thinking, Living In Balance and a program in re-integration. Classes leading to a high school equivalency diploma are also offered.

The department also receives fees paid by those who use the system. Persons on home detention pay $15 a day and those on work release pay $21 a day. In April, the department collected $48,000, she said. That is up from $15,000 a month when she became director.

The department also received a TANF grant, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The grant of about $200,000 provides funding for classes. 

Many graduates of programs at Community Corrections change their lives and are doing well, Dudley said.

“Some come back in and see us,” she said. “We have one who is No. 2 at a factory. Another on work release, I arrested him because he brought drugs back and he was sent to prison. He is back and is foreman at a factory. He is helping some in the program now to get employment.”

One woman said at her graduation from the intensive jail treatment program that she is the manager at a bakery in Muncie, Dudley said. She did not believe she could do well on the outside. She said she hated Steve Bills, the assistant director, when she started the program.

“She came in the other day to see me,” Bills said. “We have several successful completions on the computer. We had a guy that just started but when he came he was stoned. He is going to go on the Bridge Program and then Vivitrol shots.”

“Throwing them in jail and doing nothing is not working,” Dudley said. “We’ve got to try something.”