After 30 years of waiting and one month of organizing Daviess County Community Corrections has settled into its new offices on West Walnut Street. The county paid $34,000 for the former medical clinic and has been busy since getting established at the new location. "It's fantastic," said Community Corrections Executive Director Diana Snider. "We are all loving it. We can't believe we're finally here. Now we're just trying to make it feel like our new home."
Community Corrections has been nomadic since it was first established in Daviess County. In the beginning the agency operated out of the probation office in the courthouse. Then when the new jail opened the offices moved there, but as the state put additional emphasis on using counter sentencing techniques to prison and jail the community corrections program grew. "We ran out of space at the jail," said Snider.
The new offices the agency showed off during an open house on Thursday now give each member of the staff their own space and the staff is noticing the difference. "The clients are opening up more and we can work better with them," said Home Detention Case Manager Terence Wright. "We are getting better information and everything about this move has been positive."
"It really seems to be working well," added Snider. "I think just going into the jail was unsettling for a lot of our clients. We hope this will make for a better atmosphere to work with them."
The new office space is part of a long-range plan to give Community Corrections its own identity and to better serve the community. "The first step was to get our own space," explained Snider. "The next will be to bring in additional training and programs for clients."
The agency has targeted some additional programs that they would like to get started. "We are looking at some job training," said Snider. "Some of the people who come through here don't know how and where to look for jobs and need some guidance on hanging onto them. We also are looking at some drug counseling and other programs."
Doing that in the new 2,720 square foot location though might be difficult. "All of our office areas are full now," said Snider. "We have a reception area that could be used for some programs after hours. The plan calls for adding some classroom space. We may be able to do that here. we have to figure out what is most cost efficient that will work best for the clients."
Thursday's open house brought county and community leaders through the facility. Visitors also included some of the community corrections officials from neighboring counties. "Everybody is very positive about the facilities," said Snider.
For the people who use the office the change is also a positive one. "This isn't just a new facility for us. It's a new home that allows us after 30 years to create our own identity," said Snider. "For so long everyone everyone concentrated on the corrections part of our name. Now, we hope to truly be identified as a part of the Community."