Allen County Council passes budget for new work release program

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The debate over which new inmate work release program and who will run the building off Cook Road is over.

Originally the building along Venture Lane off Cook Road was going to be the Allen County Sheriff’s Department’s new work release program. The facility was set to open in October but was delayed while county officials looked if another type of program would be better for the building and the community.

The Allen County Commissioners recommended a Title 35 program for the facility rather than the Title 11 program. Title 35 is a residential work release program that offers more services than Title 11.

The Allen County Community Corrections Advisory Board voted for the new program and the recommendation then went to the Allen County Council for funds.

In a 5 to 2 vote the council passed the $1,781,340 million to start the county’s new Title 35 work release program.

“We are humbled by the vote of confidence that we received from the council today and the other stakeholders,” Executive Director of Allen County Community Corrections Kim Churchward said. “We look forward to working with the Sheriff as we move forward as we have for many many years.”

The Title 35 program is more rehabilitative with the hope that the program will lower the rate of repeat offenders and the number of inmates in the Allen County jail, officials believe. Title 35 will be run by the Allen County Community Corrections.

“Title 35 allows us to expand our capabilities,” Allen County Council President Joel Benz said. “It gives the judges someplace to sentence people directly, and ultimately, rather than just having a job to be eligible for work release, you can be assigned to a community corrections program that maybe will help these individuals get a different perspective on life and make a change for the long term.”

Originally, Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux was in charge of the construction of the building that was going to be used to expand the jail’s work-release program, a Title 11 program. However, with the council’s vote Thursday, the jail’s work-release program will have to stay at their current facility at Bryon Health Center or look for a new location.

Gladieux raised concerns if his employees would still have jobs. During the council meeting Thursday, Churchward said those employees could apply to work under the Title 35 program.

Gladieux walked out of Thursday’s meeting as the funding vote was being tallied.

With the creation of the Title 35 program, the sheriff’s Title 11 will continue to operate as well. The county council will reevaluate both programs when they create their budget for 2021 and see how each program is doing and make changes as needed.

With the funding in place, Churchward said the plan moving forward will be to list job openings in the upcoming weeks. The hope is that the facility and Title 35 program will welcome participants into the program by August.

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