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Article 64

Commissioners contract out probation service

By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch

Published: Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.
 
A first-time contract to outsource Day Reporting Services in Davidson County received unanimous approval Thursday morning from the Davidson County Board of Commissioners.


Commissioners agreed to contract the program to Salisbury-based Alternatives Counseling. The Day Reporting Services program was developed by The Criminal Justice Partnership Program in an effort to give offenders in Davidson County the opportunity to remain in the community, work and receive treatment as needed, generally at no cost to the offender.


The average length of time an offender stays in the program varies but is usually between six to 12 months. Each offender has his or her own personal treatment plan that focuses on their needs.


Alternatives Counseling will provide outpatient substance abuse services to intermediate level offenders who are referred to the program by community corrections or directly by a judge.


Alternatives Counseling is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and is also a licensed DWI treatment provider.


In essence, the service is of no cost to Davidson County, which will pay out roughly $126,000 to Alternatives Counseling through grant money it receives from the state.


The contract, effective immediately, will run until June 30, 2011.

 
“The Day Reporting Board and the probation folks agreed with the contract and said that it would be more efficient to contract out the service,” said assistant county manager Zeb Hanner. No jobs were lost during the outsourcing process, said Hanner.

 
The only real challenge with the deal will be stretching the money. Commissioner Don Truell asked, “If they happen to run out of money in October, would the program just end?”


Hanner confirmed that the program would fizzle out in such a case but did say Alternatives Counseling plans to meet every quarter to address and look at its finances.


An average cost per participant was not available, but it was estimated that Alternatives Counseling will treat between 90-105 offenders during the contract period.


Thursday's meeting was the first in more than a month, as the board recessed for much of July. During that time, commissioner Sam Watford attended the National Association of Counties conference in Reno, Nev.


Watford gave a brief report to the board on his experiences during the six-day conference that included over 40 discussions and sessions on topics like health reform, jail diversion and transportation among others.


“I enjoyed it, it was a good trip,”
Watford said.


The board will meet again at 7 Tuesday night on the fourth floor of the Davidson County Governmental Center.

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