COMMISSION LOOKING AT OFFENDER'S WORK PROGRAM - Non-Violent Individuals Would Do Community Service

Candice Null, the interim Director of Wood County's alternative sentencing program, gave an informational presentation to the Calhoun Commission yesterday afternoon.

The Commission asked Null to give details of Wood's new Day Reporting Center, a program in which non-violent individuals will be placed instead of going to regional jail.

Wood County is facing a regional jail bill in excess of $1.7 million this year. "The regional jail is already overcrowded and space is needed for serious offenders. Besides, the county can ill afford the bill," said Null.

The Calhoun Commission is looking at community/work programs for non-violent offenders.

The Wood program, a model developed by attorney Jim Lees, is already in place in Brooke, Ohio, Marshall and Hancock counties.

The regional jail bill has been a financial burden for Calhoun in the past several years, often in excess of $100,000. It has been paid off by the Commission, but the account can quickly build.

Commission President Larry McCallister said "We are looking at all the angles to keeping the bill in tow, but still making sure the community/work program is one that can be managed."

Commissioners said placing non-violent offenders in the county to do productive work is a model that was used many years ago.

The Wood County program contains other special services, including counseling services, to help offenders re-enter society.

Null said the Wood County program is willing to assist Calhoun in alternative sentencing programs.