COVID-19 created a challenge for Community Corrections — the closure of offices and reduction in the number of face-to-face meetings has affected the organization, and it’s success rate.
"I believe it did," said Janet Cagle, director of Community Correction. "Not by a lot, but it did."
In an quarterly and year end outcome report filed and signed by the Harvey County Commission this week, the organization set a goal of improving the success rate of 75 percent for supervision success — which would represent a three percent increase of fiscal year 2020.
According to Cagle, those who are unsuccessful in the program fall into a number of different categories — successful until a case pops up in another county which leads to reassignment to another county, or they end up with the department of corrections.
"Probation officers, our job is to change the behavior of the probationers," Cagle said. "They live a lifestyle of criminal behavior. They come to community corrections, and that is who is sitting in front of us. Hopefully that is where we get the success rate, that they are not arrested in the community any longer."
Commissioner Chip Westfall questioned why COVID-19 would be placing probationers on hold with the organization.
"We had two females who were put on hold because they could no interact face-to-face and the subcontract provider ... was not able to continue them," Cagle said. "They have since successfully completed community corrections."
Right now the "highest risk" probationers are coming to the office on East Sixth Street to meet with their administrators — with safety precautions in place.
"They are masking up, they are putting on gloves and we are taking safety precautions inside," Cagle said.
Lower risk clients, however, are not being met in person. Phone calls have been substituted for in person meetings.
To get to the goal of 75 percent success, the organization will continue risk assessments and, according to the year end report, work at "removing barriers relating to inappropriate companions and antisocial attitudes, values and beliefs.".
"We will continue to look at a risk/need assessment and looking at directly at those high risk domains," Cagle said. "We will be providing that probationer whatever individual service they need ... that can also include [drug and] alcohol treatment and individual motivational interviewing."