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February 10, 2014

Juvenile detention grant back on the table in Clark County

Advisory board gives green light, commissioners to reconsider

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Clark County Commissioners said no to a grant from the Indiana Judicial Center to fund two Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives-related positions at a Jan. 30 meeting, but they may feel more inclined to say yes if it comes to a vote again.

That’s because the county’s Community Corrections Advisory Board voted unanimously to approve pursuing that same $95,000 grant, based on assurances from Circuit Court Presiding Judge Vicki Carmichael that she would not mandate funds for the positions should the grant money run out and that there were likely more funds where the initial grant came from.

“I think the main reason we will revisit it is more so the communication that is happening between the judges, the probation offices and this board,” said Commissioner Rick Stephenson.

The commissioners had unanimously voted not to accept the grant funds Jan. 30, but that was because they didn’t have enough information, Stephenson said.

“One of the other problems we have is the fact that when all of this information was brought to the commissioners, it was only piecemeal,” Stephenson said. “It was only about half of what we needed to know to approve the grant or not. We never were against the grant. We were against the lack of communication between the different partners of the grant and the lack of clarity of how it was going to be ran.”

The grant will be run through the advisory board, with Carmichael making the decisions on who will be hired to fill the role of JDAI coordinator and juvenile probation officer. There had been confusion over whether the latter position would be run through Community Corrections or probation.

A candidate for the juvenile probation position — which would focus on helping juvenile offenders by providing them with alternatives to incarceration — has already been identified, but a JDAI coordinator will be hired from outside the courthouse.

“This is a demonstration of getting all the right players in the same room and have a discussion about it,” said Circuit Court Judge Dan Moore, who chairs the advisory board. “There were conflicting emails and the end-of-the-year rush.”

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