Office of Community Corrections
Community Corrections Background
Implementation of a formalized community corrections program in Michigan began as a response to an increasing prison population and the associated costs being experienced by Michigan in the late 1980s. Michigan legislators passed Public Act 511, better known as the Community Corrections Act, in 1988, as a response to the growth in the prison commitment rate. The Michigan Office of Community Corrections (MOCC), housed within the Michigan Department of Corrections, was established with the passage of PA 511 and undertook the responsibilities of reducing prison admissions, gaining better utilization of county jail facilities across Michigan, and improving treatment programming provided to offenders.
In order to assist MOCC with these objectives, PA 511 also provided the authorization for local counties in Michigan to establish local Community Corrections Advisory Boards (CCAB) with membership consisting of local criminal justice and community stakeholders. With the establishment of a CCAB, counties could apply for grant funding from MOCC to assist in the implementation of community corrections programming at the county level.
The Van Buren County Office of Community Corrections (Van Buren County OCC) was created with PA 511 funds awarded to Van Buren County in order to administer and guide the CCAB's comprehensive community corrections plan. Van Buren County OCC staff members hold a number of responsibilities that include the monitoring of funded programming to ensure contract compliance and that the agencies receiving Van Buren County OCC funds are providing services that assist the Van Buren County CCAB in meeting established goals and objectives related to the reduction of prison commitments and jail utilization.
The Van Buren County Office of Community Corrections mission is to promote pretrial justice and enhance community safety through evidence based practices.
Van Buren Office of Community Corrections (OCC) seeks to:
- Limit state prison commitments for County offenders
- Prevent overcrowding at the Van Buren County Correctional Facility
- Protect public safety by diverting low risk, non-violent felony offenders into rehabilitative programming
Van Buren County OCC advocates the effective use of sentencing options that include combined jail and probation terms coupled with rehabilitative programming rather than incarcerative dispositions for eligible offenders. A variety of programming options are funded through the Van Buren County OCC. Services range from day reporting, gender specific programming, and pretrial supervision. This diversity of services addresses a number of offender needs that include the building of new cognitive thinking skills necessary to avoiding the recidivistic behavior; learning needed skills to obtain and retain employment; and programming that enables offenders to overcome the barriers to a crime-free lifestyle that are constructed by continued and unchecked substance abuse.
Community Corrections is funded primarily by grant monies obtained from the Michigan Department of Corrections. Funding depends upon state approval of the budget, following a lengthy annual application process.
- Decrease the prison commitment rate in Van Buren County.
- Reduce recidivism which is defined by the State Board as probation violations, either technical or new sentence, resulting in a prison disposition.
- Expand use of jail diversion strategies to make more effective use of jail space.
- Encourage a wide range of criminal justice stakeholder involvement in the development of the comprehensive community corrections plan.
- Provide evidence-based programming in the community as an alternative to incarcerative sentences that will reduce future criminal activity for those that participate.
- Monitor and evaluate funded programming to ensure the quality and content of services provided.
The Van Buren County Office of Community Corrections department is responsible for collecting and analyzing data related to sentenced felony offenders, jail utilization and program performance.