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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Community corrections moves, gains more funds

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jamie France has a lot to be excited about these days.

And he was more than happy to share his joy with members of Greencastle's Rotary Club Wednesday.

The Executive Director of Putnam County Community Corrections spoke with the club, discussing the benefits of the local program.

He also announced the program was going to receive more grant money this year.

France told Rotary members Wednesday that the local program would receive $150,000 in grant money for the 2007-08 fiscal year, nearly $5,000 more than it received last year.

He said the increase amounted to a 2 percent increase.

"It just helps reduce the amount we need to generate for our service," he said.

France said the local program received $145,118 in grant money last year. However, a letter he recently received from Indiana Department of Correction Executive Director J. David Donahue informed him the grant money would increase.

Community Correction programs do not receive any county tax dollars in order to operate. The program runs off grant money in addition to user fees, which France said is nearly 67 percent.

In addition to the increase in grant money, France told the Rotary members Wednesday that the program has moved. It had been housed in the courthouse, but he said it outgrew its area.

The Community Correction facility is now housed at 22 W. Washington St., Greencastle, on the southside of the courthouse square. France said the program's Advisory Board recently voted in favor of the move.

France said the program currently has six full-time employees and three part-time employees, making the move necessary.

"The amount of stress has reduced dramatically," France said.

France said he believes clients of the program like the new location.

"They seem to enjoy the space, but I don't know if we've been there long enough to gauge the response," he said.

France jokingly added since the new office has a display window, "we might put a stockade in it."

The Community Correction program moved to its new facility in the second week of April, France said. He added its sharing space with other programs, but in a much larger area.

According to France, Putnam County Community Corrections offers four different programs, including community service restitution, community work crew, electronic home detention, community transition programs and out-of-school suspension programs (G.R.A.S.P.).

France said the program began in 1981 and has evolved since.

"When we first started back in 1981, we were more like a warehousing agency," he said. "We started off as an alternative."

According to the program's mission statement, it offers "alternatives to incarceration through enhanced coordination of the local adult and juvenile justice systems, with programs that are designed to protect the public, reduce levels of incarceration and minimize recividism."

Despite the program, however, France said there are a lot of repeat offenders, and that the program has to do a better job of identifying "risk factors" that result in repeat offending.

France expressed the importance of the community transition program, saying helping offenders ease back in the community is essential.

"We've got to be prepared for these individuals to come back to the community," he said, adding the program offers skills to the offenders in order for them to be more productive.

He said the majority of the clientele in the program are there for alcohol or drug-related offenses.

"I've seen a reduction in (methamphetamine) cases," France said. "We do still see (methamphetamine) cases, but it might be in a burglary case."

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