Letter to the Editor

DOC head praises sheriff

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

To the editor:

As Commssioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, I wish to express deep appreciation for the level of commitment Sheriff Mark Frisbie and his staff have made to improve public safety in Putnam County and the State of Indiana. The enhancement to public safety that I refer to is the introduction of substance abuse treatment services to offenders held in the Putnam County Jail.

A staggering 80 percent of offenders sent to the Department of Correction carry with them a history of substance abuse. Those released from jail or prison that reengage in substance abuse are almost certain to commit additional crimes that will lead to their return to confinement, often for longer periods of incarceration than previously served. By offering addiction treatment programming in his jail, Sheriff Frisbie joins a small group of forward-thinking sheriffs that understand how helping these individuals conquer their addiction while confined becomes a critical step towards ensuring they return to your community, not as threats, but as law abiding and productive citizens.

I would also like to comment Sheriff Frisbie for his continued willingness to assist the Department of Correction in managing Indiana's felony offender capacity. For criminal offenders who are serving relatively short periods of incarceration, or for those approaching the end of their prison stint who are returning back to Putnam County, local incarceration allows them to be closer to family, friends, member of their spiritual community, and others that can assist them with successful transition from incarceration to your community.

Finally, I extend gratitude to the Sheriff, and each of his staff who joins those correctional professionals in Indiana that suit up every day to defend us all. As servants to the public's safety, these often unsung correctional professionals ensure that criminal offenders, or those facing charges, are removed from the presence of the innocent, and prevented from causing additional harm while they are involved in the criminal justice system. We owe them our thanks and support.

J. David Donahue, commissioner, Indiana Department of Correction