City still wants to acquire Community Corrections downtown riverfront property, judge says

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The Allen County Community Corrections Day Reporting Center on West Superior Street

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The City of Fort Wayne wants to take possession of the Allen County Community Corrections Day Reporting Center sitting on prime real estate at the corner of Harrison and Superior Streets downtown.

And Superior Court Judge Fran Gull and members of the community corrections advisory board would love to swap it for another spot.

But for the time being, no site has been chosen to replace the 20,000 square foot building with a center twice its size to accommodate about 85 employees, more than double the staff size when it opened in 2000.

The subject came up at a meeting for the Allen County Community Corrections Advisory Board Thursday afternoon. Members include Allen County Commissioners, Allen County Council representatives, local judges, public defenders, Allen County Probation, Department of Child Services and law enforcement. Kim Churchward is the Community Corrections executive director.

Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters said his department would be willing to make improvements to the facility that Gull describes as cramped and dilapidated.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for a new building,” said Gull who estimated the courts have been waiting at least 10 years to make a move.

Gull reported 176 people housed at the Residential Services Center on Venture Lane, up from 157 in September. The goal is to reach 230 residents, but staffing is not complete. About 500 people have been served at the residential facility since it opened in August 2020.

540 PEOPLE ON ANKLE MONITOR IN ALLEN COUNTY

About 540 offenders are currently on the GPS ankle monitoring system monitored by 16 technicians. Those technicians have handled 1.2 million “event” or alerts that aren’t necessarily violations, Churchward said.

With the Allen County Jail terminally overcrowded, the hope is to relieve conditions at the jail while offering programs and alternatives.

“In the Allen County Jail, they’re just doing time,” Gull said after the meeting. “They’re not getting any services. They’re not getting any rehabilitative provision of programming or anything.

“At the facility, they’re getting life skills treatment. They’re able to be employed. They’re able to support their families, pay their child support, pay their tax obligations. These are all important things for offenders because eventually they’re all going to be coming back home again,” Gull added.

Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux, a member of the advisory board did not attend the meeting and sent Chief Deputy Troy Hershberger as his proxy. Gladieux had expected to share his work release program at the Venture Lane facility with Community Corrections. However, work release applications were denied by the courts forcing him to close it down.

The work release program was an alternative for people who wanted to serve their time with fewer programs, Gladieux said.

PASSES ARE NOW FOR AVAILABLE FOR OFFENDERS WHO ARE IN COMPLIANCE

This month at the Venture Lane facility, video visitation for outsiders will begin, Gull and Churchward reported. Offenders who are in supervision compliance are able to access passes that allow them to go home for four hours. The first passes were issued the week of Thanksgiving, Churchward said.

The advisory board also re-elected three officers: Gull as chair, Judge Wendy Davis, vice chair and Rev. Bill McGill, One Church-One Offender Inc., secretary/treasurer.

They are also the officers for the Allen County chapter for the Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council that evaluates court programs for the state.

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