Community corrections program in the works for Carroll County

Carroll County currently does not have a program that helps keep offenders out of jail. A new community corrections program may benefit the community. WLFI/File Photo
Carroll County currently does not have a program that helps keep offenders out of jail. A new community corrections program may benefit the community. WLFI/File Photo

CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Carroll County court system will see some changes in the months ahead, including a new community corrections program. The new program may help keep offenders out of jail.

“We really sat down and thought about what were the needs of the community. What are some of the areas where maybe either the private sector or the public sector was falling short a little bit in terms of what people needed?” Carroll Superior Court Judge Kurtis Fouts said.

Community corrections is a component of sentencing. It gives a judge alternative options to handing down jail time or probation.

When the program is rolled out, the court will be able to provide resources such as mental, health and substance abuse services to those sentenced to community corrections.

While it’s not guaranteed, it may also cut down on overcrowding in the Carroll County Jail.

Fouts said he’s optimistic about the program.

“Community corrections is a program that is in most counties in the state of Indiana,” Fouts said. “In fact, Carroll County is one of the last, maybe, five or seven counties that has not had one up until now.”

An advisory board was created to determine whether or not the program would be a good fit. The board OK’d the program, and a $167,000 grant from the state soon followed.

The program will also receive program income, which is made up of fees paid by people in community corrections or on probation.

Though the funding is in place, Fouts said there still quite a bit of work that needs to be done.

“We’ve gotta come up with bylaws and rules and things like that. We have a basic idea for the kind of a program that the advisory board at least felt that would be appropriate for Carroll County,” Fouts said.

A director has been named to lead the program and will start later this month. A subcommittee has also been formed to seek out additional employees.

Fouts said while he can’t predict the future, he’s hoping the program makes a real difference.

“It’s expensive to run a court system, it’s expensive to incarcerate people and so if we can turn someone’s life around from someone who maybe was not a productive member of society — not holding a job, not being a good, ya know, mother, father, sister, brother into someone who is doing a good job fulfilling their responsibilities, working – then I would say that’s a good investment for everyone,” said Fouts.

He said he has hopes of rolling the program out later this year.