News and Tribune

Clark County

February 19, 2010

Clark County Council likely to address probation move Tuesday

Another move to consolidate services and cut operational costs may be on the horizon for the Clark County courts.

In addition to pursuing the possibility of consolidating the courts into a single unified Circuit Court, Judge Dan Moore is urging the county to pursue consolidation of the county’s probation offices.

As it stands there are five separate probation offices — one being the juvenile probation office, which has to remain separate as defined by state law — and each department has its own department chief.

The move to a consolidated probation would hope to have a similar impact as the goals established for the court consolidation.

By pushing the offices together, multiple cases by one offender could be managed more easily, communication between departments would be streamlined, flexibility would increase among the staff and funding would be more easily managed from a single source, Moore said.

The effort also would save costs for the sheriff’s department. Officers would save time and money by only having to bring a prisoner to one office instead of taking the offender to multiple probation departments multiple times.

“It makes sense,” Moore said.

Because the county is pursuing the option to consolidate its court services, Moore believes it should look at probation at the same time.

“The timing is right,” he said. “It’s very compatible.”

Timing also may be influenced — beyond the discussions of unifying the court — by legislation originally proposed in January 2009 to consolidate probation departments throughout the state.

Senate Bill 428, introduced by Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, “consolidates multiple probation departments in counties having more than one probation department into one probation department under the supervision of a joint probation committee consisting of all judges having the authority to impose probation.”

According to the Indiana General Assembly Web site, the bill is in committee in the House.

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