To The Daily Sun,
On Monday, May 22, there will be a County Convention meeting that is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the County Conference room at the County Complex. At approximately 7 p.m. the County Commissioners will request a supplemental appropriation in the amount of $136,455 needed to hire three correctional officers and one correctional sergeant in the Department of Corrections. The main reason for this request is to provide adequate staffing to maintain safety and security within the existing jail facility and our new 18,410 square foot Community Corrections Center.
The Community Corrections Center is scheduled to begin operations this September with its primary focus being our Corrections Opportunity for Recovery and Education (CORE) program. This program is designed to provide counseling, education and treatment for sentenced inmates who have been assessed to be at high-risk for substance misuse and a return to criminal activity.
With every sentenced inmate returning into our communities once released, the CORE program is designed to assist in the re-entry process to enable them to remain out of jail and become productive, healthy citizens.
In November 2015 the County Convention voted 15-0 in favor of an $8 million bond to construct the Community Corrections Center. The plan included information regarding additional staff and programming costs estimated to be $650,183. The additional staffing requirement will be the focus of the supplemental appropriation request. It is my opinion that the additional staff is vital to maintaining proper care, custody and control of the inmate population and provide for a safe and secure environment for my correctional officers. Without these new officers, I could not recommend opening the new building to the Board of Commissioners.
Prior to the County Convention meeting, at 4 p.m., I will provide a short presentation about the Community Corrections Center and our CORE program along with information regarding the staffing needs of the Department of Corrections. There will be a tour of the center following this presentation. I am inviting all Belknap County citizens to attend this presentation to ask questions and become informed of our mission.
Many local residents have expressed their support to me for our plan to give hope back to many of us negatively impacted by the current opioid crisis.
I am asking for your support once again. Please show up next Monday and speak with our delegates. Let them know you support the Community Corrections Center and our CORE program. The additional funds being requested will ensure we are able to safely and efficiently provide the services so many of our local residents desperately need.
Belknap County Department of Corrections
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