Starke County Community Corrections Director, Robert Hinojosa, appeared before the County Commissioners recently to request a letter approving a grant application for 2012. The grant is administered by the Department of Corrections and is for almost $188,000 of a $346,000 Community Corrections budget. The shortfall is made up from user fees. The letter was signed as requested.
One of the goals of the local Community Corrections organization is to become a level one program.
“There’s three levels,” explains Hinojosa. “If you are a level one program, that means that you have done a great job in adopting a lot of the practices, doing good case management work and identifying which service providers are effective, etc. If you are a level two, you are doing a good job but not exceptional and if you are a level three you’ve got some major problems in the way you run your program. The first year they instituted the level status was last year and we came in at a high level two and I was proud of that. We had really limited resources to do some of the things that we were asked to do. I believe that this application we’re submitting will get us to level one.”
Hinojosa was asked if he expected the state to be sending more class “D” felons back to the county of sentencing origin for housing in local jails, or going into community corrections programs.
“Really it’s up to the community to make that decision. The community ultimately decides where they go. The State is saying that they’ll be more effective and you’ll have greater results if you put them in community-based organizations. Some communities may choose to put them in the jail and that’s really the call of the community.”
Hinojosa said the state legislature might be tempted to enact legislation to have the class “D” felons serve their time in the home counties, but the State Sheriff’s Association is expected to offer resistance to such a plan, saying local jails are not meant for long time incarceration.