STANTON — A local community corrections program is going strong, despite budget cuts.
The Michigan Community Corrections Act of 1988 established a statewide policy to develop and operate corrections programs for non-violent adult offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated.
In 1989, Montcalm County established a Community Corrections Advisory Board. In 1997, Ionia County merged with Montcalm County to form a two-county board. Montcalm County initiated a split with Ionia County in 2004, but the two counties merged again in 2006 in a reorganization by the sheriff’s department.
Kevin Everingham is manager of the Montcalm County Community Corrections Advisory Board on behalf of the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office. He is responsible for arranging multiple services, including probation residential services, community service placements and vocational rehabilitation programs, substance abuse outpatient counseling, jobs readiness classes in jail, cognitive assessments and cognitive behavior classes.
The advisory board met Monday afternoon to discuss budget cuts from the Michigan Department of Corrections and to approve moving forward with a grant application.
The Department of Corrections contributed $86,764 to the Montcalm County Community Corrections Program last year. This year and next year that amount has been reduced to $82,024 (a total decrease of $9,480). The county and the state currently have a three-year contract.
Everingham said while he doesn’t support the cuts, he can sympathize with the state’s situation. He said leftover county funds in the administrative budget and the outpatient counseling budget will be able to fill the hole left by budget cuts.
“I thought it was pretty obvious where I could cut and it wouldn’t hurt anything, but it’s going to be tight,” Everingham said.
According to 8th Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Hoort, who is also a member of the advisory board, Ionia County’s community corrections program also struggled with budget cuts, but will remain afloat for now.
Montcalm County’s advisory board also voted Monday to approve a grant application to send to the Michigan Department of Corrections Office of Community Alternatives for funding next year.
Other members of the advisory board include Montcalm County Jail Administrator Mark Sabin (chairman of the board), 8th Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger, 64B District Court Judge Donald Hemingsen, Probate Court Judge Charles Simon III, Montcalm County Commissioner and Howard City Police Chief Steve DeWitt, Montcalm County Commissioner Betty Kellenberger, Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause, Don Nolan and Bonnie Steed of probation and parole, attorney Dennis Moore, Terry King of the Department of Human Services, David Hancock of Colonial House Real Esate, public representative Rick Devers and News Editor Elisabeth Waldon as media representative for The Daily News.
For more information about the Community Corrections program, call Everingham at (989) 831-7438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.