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January 08, 2013 | 11:22 AMWe have all heard the saying that some things are both an art and a science. Well, I have just experienced a new something that falls within that realm.
In a recent article, I introduced the Walworth County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) program of OWI Court.
With the blessing of the County Board, our OWI Court decided to apply for an expansion grant in the amount of $80,000. The grant was available from the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance (OJA).
We are seeking to acquire the monies to support the inclusion of fourth offenders in the program. The OJA announcement was ten pages long requiring eleven specific areas to be addressed.
I have a better appreciation for anyone who has ever written a grant before. The application required specific information like budget detail, budget narrative and a design and implementation strategy. It also requires someone who can write "grant speak."
Luckily, we were able to take advantage of the abilities of our new OWI Court Coordinator Katie Behl.
She led the charge on the project and was able to bring it all together. I have previously indicated that one of the best attributes of our CJCC is the dynamic relationship between our members.
Katie was able to prepare our 33-page application with the willing assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Probation and Parole Office, the Clerk of Court and the County Administrator's Office.
If approved, the grant money will predominantly be used for monitoring and treatment purposes.
Monitoring is the "eyes and ears" of the court while participants are in the community. It is necessary to protect public safety, provide accountability and identify any relapse.
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Our philosophy is that treatment is the cornerstone of recidivism prevention. It provides the motivation, insight and behavioral skills necessary for participants not to reoffend.
Another proposed portion of the grant is to offset the cost of participants to acquire their GED or HSED.
From 2005 to 2009, a jail research study was conducted in our county to analyze whether there is a correlation between inmates gaining their GED and recidivism rates. In 2009 it was determined that the rate of recidivism for those without a GED was an unbelievable 42 times greater than for those with a GED.
So for now, art and science aside, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed that the grant will pass muster with the OJA.