Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Improving justice

November 15, 2012

This article was written by Walworth County Circuit Court Judge David Reddy.

When approached about writing an article for the paper, my initial reaction was reluctance.

As I told Rob Ireland (Regional News Managing Editor), I am not a very prolific writer. But when the topic became clear to me, it made the decision easier. I am chair of the Walworth County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC). Just last month we set as one of our goals to communicate our successes to the general public.

First, a little bit of background. The CJCC was created by ordinance of the county board in 2005.

Our recently-revamped mission states as follows:

The committee is composed of policy level stakeholders who promote cost-effective and evidence-based practices in Walworth County, benefiting citizens who are impacted by the criminal justice system.

Our membership composition includes all four circuit court judges, the county board chair, the sheriff, the district attorney, a health and human services representative, the public defender, a probation office supervisor, a police chief, a college professor, the clerk of courts, the district court administrator and the Walworth County administrator.

Just this year the governor established a statewide CJCC, which surveyed the existing county CJCCs and it asked us what we felt was our greatest successes. Our response was 1) the dynamic relationship between members and 2) our programs.

We all share our prospectives from our own area of expertise while keeping the big picture in mind. Sharing ideas is important, but we also have some tangible programs that come under our auspices.

Two programs I want to introduce are CATE and OWI Court. CATE is an acronym for Commitment, Accountability, Treatment and Evaluation.

Both programs are treatment options whose aim is to reduce the recidivism rate of operating while intoxicated offenders by behavior modification. In exchange for engaging in intensive treatment and monitoring, participants are given reduced fines and jail time. CATE is a pay as you go program and OWI Court involves participants being placed on probation. An entire column could be devoted to each of these programs and in the future probably will.

Please note that our meetings are open to the public and are normally scheduled for the second Friday of the month in my courtroom, which is room 3040 of The Walworth County Judicial Center.

If anyone has questions or concerns relating to public safety or the criminal justice system, please consider this an invitation to attend. We always have a public comment item on our agenda.