Letter to the Editor

Reader disappointed with area organization

Sunday, December 23, 2007

To the Editor:

By providing "therapeutic practices that are anti-criminal modeling, effective reinforcement and problem solving techniques, structured learning procedures for skill building, effective use of authority, cognitive self change, relationship practices and motivational interviewing," "the mission of the Community Corrections program is to maintain the public's safety while effectively diverting non-dangerous offenders from incarceration at the state and local levels through placement in community-based programs."

The placement in local programs is intended to accomplish many things. For example:

* Give individuals with an ability to become a productive part of society the opportunity to rebuild their life and financial situation versus using our tax dollars to pay for their meals, clothing, medical attention and recreational activities, and

* Rebuild families that have been torn apart by poor choices but still contain the substance needed to become one unit working together. This in turn allows children to depend on both parents and receive the emotional and financial support they need to grow into good citizens.

Unfortunately, our local office is not aware of the state's intended use of these programs and are very selective in what they offer and to who they offer it too. These programs are intended to be a positive step in reentering society. And to accomplish that, each case requires complete evaluation and an honest determination of needs. A fair decision must be made when choosing which programs will best help rebuild self sufficiency in these individuals.

I am appalled with Clay Community Corrections for the obvious abuse of power over these programs. In the short amount of time I have been directly involved with the Corrections program, I have been lied to during negotiation interviews, given written rules they do not use nor consider unless they are able to use them as intimidation factors and have had little cooperation from the director or his assistant until it was time to pay the outrageous fees these programs cost.

The equipment required has been a complete disaster to say the least. There have been days that it simply did not work. Components used to keep the transmitters attached were useless leading to more problems for the client. Calls made by the client to the director were left unanswered and extreme disrespect by other office administrators were abundant. I have witnessed extreme diligence from current program users with their effort to supply all written schedules, pay fees on time -- even when there was not a dollar left of their check to buy milk for home, and attend all meetings and court appointments scheduled.

Although I am not an offender currently utilizing this service, I have been working with individuals who are desperate to correct their misuse of our communities. So for them, and as a payer of tax dollars that contribute to the success of these programs, I write my views now.

All in all, this experience has been a complete flop as far as I am concerned. It has discouraged me as well the individuals needing the program. A low level of moral has been established not only for clients but also for the C.C.C.C. office.

I believe it is time the citizens realize it is our right as a community to monitor how the programs our taxes support are run, and by who, city and county alike.

There are far too many elected and appointed representatives that believe they are a one-man army, or believe this is a family-owned and operated business.

How many friends or family members can you group together and still receive a decision that is based on community needs and not personal preference?

Brandy Means,