Corrections eyes educational program for offenders


JASPER — Dubois County Community Corrections is considering installing a computer program that would allow community corrections participants to take educational classes and watch educational programs while serving their time at the center.

Edovo, based in Chicago, offers hundreds of education and treatment classes, Dubois County Community Corrections Director Megan Durlauf told the community corrections advisory board Tuesday.

“Edovo is very education- and treatment-based,” Durlauf said. “So you as the user are going in and doing treatment to earn credit to access entertainment. That entertainment is also educational.”

The board asked several questions about the program’s implementation at its Tuesday board meeting. Durlauf plans to get those questions answered by the board’s next meeting, set for Nov. 7.

“It’s something we should look at,” board member Jerry Hunefeld said. “It has great potential.”

Durlauf came across the program after board members told her to research ideas that could be funded by money community corrections receives from the Indiana Department of Correction.

Participants would be able to take classes in areas like literacy, GED, ESL, employment, personal finance, health and wellness, religion and spirituality, treatment, and legal areas; there are also continuing education college courses.

The educational classes component would be free to community corrections participants. The treatment education programs do not replace the in-person treatment programs, like anger management, participants are assigned to, Durlauf said.

The entertainment components are optional, if the community corrections board wants to offer those, Durlauf said.

One option is letting participants earn points for completing courses. Those points can be used to access entertainment shows Edovo has available.

The other option allows for participants to pay a fee that allows them to send a certain number of texts to people while they are at the facility. Judge Nathan Verkamp expressed concern of a participant contacting someone who doesn’t want to be contacted, like a domestic violence victim. Durlauf said the person who is contacted has the option of accepting the text or not; that person will not be charged if he or she does not accept. Also, she said, the texts can be monitored by the staff for appropriateness.

Edovo has a trial program community corrections can use to see if it wants to implement the entire program. The trial, through which Edovo provides 30 devices for community corrections to use for three months, will cost between $6,650 and $8,400; there would also be an upfront setup cost of $1,250 to $3,000. If community corrections decided to enter into a 12-month contract, the cost would be between $6,000 and $12,000; the setup cost that was already paid would apply to the new contract. Edovo will train staff and participants on how to use the system.

Before committing to a trial run, board members told Durlauf to check with Matrix Integration to see if the center has enough bandwidth to handle the program, especially since there is a potential that several educational shows could be running at the same time. They also told her to ask for a device for her and staff to use to see if the program is easy to use.

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