When a person is charged with a crime, the outcome can look bleak.
Depending on the severity of that crime, jail time can loom on the horizon.
But people who are charged with nonviolent crimes can go to a place that helps rehabilitate them through drug and alcohol counseling, and even help them possibly attain a GED and look for a job.
In Marion County, that place is the Day Report Center, which is a sentencing alternative for people charged with nonviolent crimes.
Instead of a jail sentence or as a condition of bond, those people might be ordered to attend the center, where they will receive counseling, attend various classes and perform community service for a specified time.
Funded by a $133,351 grant from the West Virginia Community Corrections Act Program, the center opened its doors on March 15, 2010. It is one of 35 such centers around the state.
The need for the center is obvious. According to the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Service, nonviolent offenders accounted for almost 76 percent of new prison admissions in 2006 and 51 percent of the stock population in mid-2007.
Almost 21 percent of new commitments in 2007 were parole violators.
The length of stay increased for nearly all crime categories between 2001 and 2006, and for many nonviolent offenses: burglary (20.1 months), property (10.6 months) and drug offenses (eight months).
That’s where the Day Report Center comes in. Since opening, the center has helped more than 180 offenders, and there are currently 56 active participants. The rehabilitation offered at the center may also help cut the recidivism rate.
But it won’t be easy.
“This is not just an experiment,” said director Ted Offutt. “We are not coddling criminals. We’re not being soft on crime. The individuals in this program can tell you. It’s easier to lay in a bunk at jail than to be in this program. They have to participate in programs.”
The Day Report Center has helped people like Angela, who asked to be identified by a fictitious name for privacy reasons. She was driving in Taylor County last October when a police officer motioned for her to pull over. That’s when he asked to see her license, but because she didn’t have one, she got a ticket that she signed with her sister’s name. That led to her being indicted on two felony counts of forging and two counts of uttering a public document. An added issue was that a court-ordered drug test came back positive for “so many drugs” in her system.
She was sent to the Day Report Center, and she’s glad.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it,” Angela explained to the Times West Virginian. “It changed my life completely. A year ago I never thought I’d be the person I am today.”
Angela’s story certainly isn’t unique. There are more people like her who are being rehabilitated thanks to the success of programs like the Day Report Center.
But the center doesn’t just help rehabilitate nonviolent offenders. It’s saving the county money by keeping the North Central Regional Jail less crowded. Paying $50 a day for each Marion County inmate at the regional jail can cost more than a million dollars in a year. That doesn’t include transportation, wear and tear on the transport van, time and gas.
It’s clear that the Marion County Day Report Center is providing people with the second chance they need.
When a person is charged with a crime, the outcome can look bleak.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
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