Wood County creates criminal justice position
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN – The Wood County Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution that allowed for the creation of a Criminal Justice Department, as well as the hiring of a Justice coordinator to oversee the Wood County Drug Court. In addition, the coordinator would also look into other diversion courts that would focus on treatment and repeat criminal behavior.
The cost of the new position falls around $93,000.
“The supposition was that some of it would be offset by available and awarded grant funds, but nothing was specifically done or has been approved,” County Board Chairman Doug Machon said, after voting against the move. “If that is the case, I want to know more about the funding procedure.
“I believe in the philosophy. I had a discussion with Craig (Lambert) our D.A. He is for this, and we had a lengthy discussion. I have a lot of respect for Craig Lambert and if he is telling me that this is something that we could use, I am on board. My only apprehension was the funding of it. I would like to see that much more locked down, as far as who is paying what and if there is a return on investment for that.
“We are talking about reducing inmates in incarceration, so it alleviates pressure at the jail. How do we determine that; how do we identify and give empirical data to that?”
Supervisor Lance Pliml said that having the position in place may aid in securing some of the grant funds that are available.
“The Criminal Justice coordinator is something that the state has looked at having in place before awarding the grant, such as a drug court grant, and further diversion programs that we may enter into, Pliml stated to the board. “I also look at the cost that we’ve had associate with an exponentially exploding jail population, and I think this can help alleviate some of that as we work through the whole process and hopefully have some alternatives to incarceration and some other ideas come up in that.”
The resolution passed 12-7, during the Aug. 20 meeting, with Supervisors Donna Rozar, Adam Fischer, Allen Breu, William Winch, Machon, Dennis Polach, and Joe Zurfluh voting no.
The new Wood County Criminal Justice Department position will be budgeted for and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.