County Home Detention Program Begins Operations

    Kosciusko County’s new home detention program is up and running.
    By Thursday, the agency had already begun tracking three offenders and two more were expected to be added today, said Kurt Jones, community corrections director who was hired in April.
    “We’re fully operational and the flood gates have opened. Every day, I’m getting new packets. Every day, I’m getting new people sentenced to me,” Jones said.
    He said the program hopes to be tracking 50 to 60 people eventually.
    Jones formally received approval by county council to use grant money to cover three salaries, including his own. He gave a brief update during a presentation Thursday night.
    The county received $356,200 in grant money from the state to establish the program and run it for the next 12 months.
    Eventually, grant funding will diminish and the county hopes to run the operation with user fees from participants.
    The program operates out of the justice building in downtown Warsaw and is a way to ease the burdens of overcrowding in the jail and the probation departments, Jones said.
    Participants in the program are adult felons whose convictions do not involve violence, weapons or sex crimes, Jones said.
    The program relies on GPS-based tracking system and bracelets worn by offenders.
    Staffing includes Jones, a home detention officer and an administrative assistant.
    Council members also heard presentations from nine agencies that receive funding from the county, including Animal Welfare League, the Historical Society, 4-H Council, Cardinal Services, Home Care & Hospice, Beaman Home, Kosciusko Community Senior Services, Bowen Center and the St. Joe River Basin.
    Council took no action on the presentations.
    Council approved a handful of appropriations for Fire District 2 and the veterans service officer. Only four council members attended the meeting and all votes were unanimous.