COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS REORGANIZATION APPROVED
The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved a number of measures finalizing the transfer of the Community Corrections Department to the supervision of the county Sheriff’s Office.
The move is part of a reorganization plan that saw the closure earlier this year of the county Transition Center. The plan also brings the Animal Control Division under the Sheriff’s Office. Animal Control, which operates the animal shelter in Warrenton, has been administered by Community Corrections.
The final component of the plan approved by the board names the Sheriff as the sole Supervisory Authority for the county. The Supervisory Authority, which has ultimate authority on sanctions and transfers of people in the local criminal justice system, has formerly consisted of the sheriff, Community Corrections director and an appointed county commissioner.
The merger of Community Corrections, which oversees local parole and probation services, into the Sheriff’s Office was recommended by a consultant’s study that found the move could improve efficiency and cooperation and reduce duplication. The study also called for the Transition Center closure.
The board of commissioners gave preliminary approval to the consultant’s recommendations in February. Since then a management team set up by Sheriff Tom Bergin, with input from staff of both organizations, has worked to integrate the two departments’ operations. Plans have also been developed to boost services to Community Corrections clients, including expanded treatment services and alternatives to custody, as well as a new day-reporting system, funded by the savings realized from the Transition Center closure.
The 30-bed Transition Center opened in 2006 in the North Coast Business Park in Warrenton as an alternative sanction for local offenders as well as a transitional setting for people released from prison back into the local community. Budget projections forecast that contingency funds used to cover the center’s approximately $800,000 annual operating costs would run out in 2012, requiring the county to divert scarce General Fund dollars to maintain the facility.
Eight staff positions were eliminated as part of the Transition Center closure. The facility continues to serve as offices for Community Corrections staff, as well as the new day-reporting site for clients.
Under the reorganization the director’s position in Community Corrections has been eliminated and replaced with a lieutenant position, for which the county is currently in the midst of the hiring process.
Community Relations Coordinator