HARRISON COUNTY court officials made a SMART move recently, one that may yield nice dividends.
Common Pleas Judge T. Shawn Hervey announced the court has been selected to participate in a SMART Ohio Funding Model Pilot program. It has the potential to be a big boost to the county.
It became reality thanks to the efforts of Chief Probation Officer John Jackson. He applied for the new grant in hopes of improving probation programs based on success rates for the post-release community supervision population, making sure they don't end up behind bars again.
Hervey is ecstatic that his county court gained funding approval, and rightly so. As the judge correctly notes, all too often smaller and rural counties get left of the funding pie.
"Finally, one of the small counties is getting money from the state," Hervey stated, "It's nice to see an "A" student get the grant for once. It is nice to see the person doing what they are supposed to do get the money."
The Harrison County court stands to reap a substantial amount of money should SMART play out effectively.
At the outset of community based control sanctions the grant funds $500 for every person on probation. If they are still on probation at the end of a quarter the county receives an additional $200. For each probationer who successfully completes the program and does not return to prison we receive $750," said Hervey. "For judicial release we get $300 at the start, an additional $100 at the end of each quarter and if the person completes their judicial release and does not return to prison the county will receive $500.
Harrison County normally has approximately 100 persons on probation actively. That would place potential funding close to $50,000 per year. The funding will allow for the expansion of probation services.
The purpose of this program is to improve probation success rates, which would in turn improve public safety, reduce returns to prisons and jails, and save taxpayer dollars.
Judge Hervey and Probation Officer Jackson should be commended for courted such a beneficial program. Their SMART efforts will relieve some of the financial burden off the county for the probation program.