County sets fees for new pretrial service

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Dubois County Community Corrections Board set the fees for a new pretrial service.

“It’s a new option available to the courts,” Dubois Circuit Judge Nathan Verkamp, president of the corrections board, told the board Monday.

Criminal Rule 26 under the Indiana Rule of Criminal Procedure mandates that those arrested be assessed to determine if they are a flight risk or a danger to the public or themselves. That assessment would determine if the person should be held in jail with or without bond, or places under a new monitoring program.

The rule was approved by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2017 and went into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The goal of the rule is to not have non-dangerous people sitting in jail because they can’t afford to pay the bond.

The administrative fee, for doing the risk assessment and other needed information checks, will be $75. The monitoring service cost will depend on the level and amount of pre-trial monitoring that the court determines is needed for the person. The basic pretrial level will cost $15 per month; moderate pretrial level is $25 per month; the enhanced pretrial level is $30 per month.

Board member Jerry Hunefeld questioned the costs. “Will they be able to afford this?” he asked. “Is this too pricey?” County Prosecutor Anthony Quinn, another board member, said doing this program is much cheaper than other programs, to which board member and County Probation head Jenny Lampert agreed.

Community Corrections Director Megan Durlauf said the program replaces putting pretrial people in the adult day reporting program, which costs $60 per week.

Chad Blessinger, vice president of the board, said that having the people who are awaiting trial cover their own cost at a lower fee is better than having them sit in jail, because their jail time costs are paid by the county.

“This is a better deal for the taxpayer,” he said. “(The people) are not sitting in jail. They can pay their own way.”

The fees for the assessment and monitoring were approved by the corrections board.

The corrections board also:

• Re-elected Verkamp as president, Blessinger as vice president and Doug Tarvin as secretary.

• Approved writing off 21 delinquent accounts, which are from people who are deceased. The accounts will be sent to the Dubois County Commissioners for final approval. Writing off the accounts does not mean that collection attempts cannot be made in the future, Dubois Superior Court Judge Mark McConnell explained; the accounts are just taken off community corrections’ accounts listing.

• Heard that property owned by SERVUS! in front of the community corrections building will be sold to the county. Blessinger said that paperwork is in the works to turn over the property to the county for $185,000, which, by law, is the most the county could pay for the land.

• Heard that a resolution was reached with the county for pay increases for community corrections employees whose salaries were lagging behind.




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