Grand Jury Praises Community Corrections Program

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

 

The Hamilton County Grand Jury, in a final report, praised the county's community corrections program.

The panel, headed by foreman Bob Smith, said the program using electronic monitoring is very cost effective. The group said the five percent recidivism rate for the program is excellent.

It recommends expanding community corrections for non-violent offenders.

The Grand Jury, as have prior grand juries, recommended more work and less television for those housed at the Workhouse at Silverdale.

The report says starting a vegetable garden there would save on food costs and give employment to inmates.

It was recommended that the County Commission fund some "old-fashioned truant officers" to make sure children are attending school.

The grand jurors said jurors should be paid at least $20 per day.

Here is the full Grand Jury report as delivered to Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern:

The Regular Grand Jury for the January – April, 2012 term presents the following report:

 

The members of the Regular Grand Jury appreciated this opportunity to serve as a part of the Criminal Justice System in Hamilton County.  Through this educational experience, we are much more aware of all facets of the Criminal Justice process.  The experience of serving on the Grand Jury has been “valuable, eye-opening, and sometimes depressing”. 

 

Listening to the various law enforcement officers testify has made us very appreciative that these individuals desire to protect the law abiding citizens of Hamilton County from those who would perform criminal acts.

 

The legal information provided by Jerry Sloan, Assistant District Attorney was very valuable.  We appreciated Billie Jeno serving as our notetaker for this term.

 

The tours of Silverdale, County Jail, Juvenile Detention Center and the presentation about the Community Corrections Program were very informative.

 

The compassion shown by Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey for the juvenile offenders was inspirational.

 

The Regular Grand Jury issues the following commendations and recommendations:

 

SILVERDALE  FACILITY  (CCA)

 

COMMENDATIONS:

 

(1) The facility appeared to be administered in a professional, humane manner and operated efficiently.

 

(2)  The buildings were very clean and well maintained.

 

(3)  The County Director of Corrections, Facility Warden and Head Nurse appeared to be very professional and knowledgeable.

 

(4)  The number of different programs available to the inmates, if utilized, offer inmates the opportunity to become productive citizens upon their release.

 

(5)  The video visitation equipment at Silverdale is a very good addition to the facility, to reduce the flow of contraband into the institution.

 

(6)  The physical organization of the facility and the classification of inmates, based on the offense, appear to work very well. 

 

(7)  Using inmates to help clean up damage in the most recent tornado was very commendable.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

(1)  This Grand Jury, as previous juries, encourages the administration of the Silverdale facility to find as many work opportunities as possible for the inmates, since this is a “work house”.  Also, if the inmate does not have a high school diploma, he/she should be required to work toward a G.E.D.

 

(2)  Reduce the number of hours inmates may watch television, and replace with more worthwhile activities.

 

(3)  Develop a vegetable garden for cultivation by the inmates.  This would provide an additional work outlet and reduce food costs.

 

(4)  With reference to #7 above, perhaps, in the future, inmates, could be used to help in cleanup operations in other types of disasters and/or bad weather.

 

(5)  The facility administration needs to be aware that, on the day the Grand Jury toured, there was an offensive odor in the older part of the men’s unit.

 

COMMUNITY  CORRECTIONS

 

COMMENDATIONS:

 

(1)  Overall, these programs help keep some individuals from being incarcerated, and thus lower the cost for housing those individuals.

 

(2)   The House Arrest Program with Electronic Monitoring is very cost effective.

 

(3)  The 5% recidivism rate for this program is excellent.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

These programs, where possible, need to be expanded for non-violent offenders.

 

CRIMINAL  JUSTICE SYSTEM

 

(1)  The Grand Jury would request that the State Legislature seriously consider more severe penalties for repeat offenders, both misdemeanants and felons

 

(2)  The County Commission should provide the funding to employee a number of “old fashioned” truant officers to assist keeping children in school.

 

(3)  For the tours of the correctional facilities, either two vans are needed or one van equipped to hold fourteen jurors plus the driver.

 

(4)  Once again, this Grand Jury, as have many in the past, is strongly urging the State Legislature to close the “loophole” in State law, which permits automobiles 10 years or older to be sold without a title to a scrap dealer.  It is totally unacceptable for an individual to take an illegally acquired vehicle, ten years or older, to a scrap dealer and receive money.  Oftentimes, when the owner discovers that the vehicle is gone, it is already crushed at the scrap yard.  In addition, crushing the vehicle destroys evidence which could be used in Court. 

 

(5)  Due to the current increase in fuel prices, jurors need to be paid at least $20.00 per day.

 

(6)  Utilize more technology for all the paperwork needed in the criminal justice system.

 

 

CASES HEARD THIS TERM

 

During the January – April, 2012 term, the Regular Grand Jury heard witnesses testify on  662 cases.

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BOLES, BRANDON S 195 CEDAR RD SPRING CITY, 37381 29 Soddy Daisy CRIMINAL TRESPASSING CARROLL, TABITHA LEE 3015 ADDISON ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37406 35 Hamilton County POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA COLLINS, JAMES ERIC 5312 OAKDALE AVE EAST RIDGE, 37412 34 Chattanooga FAILURE TO APPEAR ... (click for more)

Bill To Get Delta Queen Floating Again Blocked By 2 Senators

A bill to get the historic Delta Queen plying the rivers again sailed through the U.S. House, but it was blocked in the Senate in the closing days of this year's Congressional session. Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., cited concerns by the U.S. Coast Guard on whether the boat might be a fire trap. Ohio's senators had worked to get the bill passed ... (click for more)

Our Government Is Not Broken

A recent Fox News poll indicated two thirds of Americans think their government is broken. That's not good for America because in reality our form and system of government has generally worked very well. Even recently, our system of government has produced some very good results.   Consider some of the following:  1. Winding down long expensive wars in Afghanistan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Tale We Can’t Pass Up

About a week before Christmas, a dear friend shared an email story that I had planned to use on Dec. 25. But then my canine buddy in Indiana, the German shepherd Bela, got a death reprieve and I figured that was too joyous a story to pass up on Thursday. So on a sleepy Saturday when all the presents have been exchanged, here is a story that proves if you can just hold a little ... (click for more)

Dominant Hamilton Heights Defeats Notre Dame, 78-36

Hamilton Heights captured the Rhea County Holiday Hoops tournament championship last weekend, but failed to play any game as well as it did Friday night in a 78-36 victory over Notre Dame in the Best of Preps basketball tournament at Chattanooga State. The Hawks (12-1), ranked third in the state by MaxPreps, scorched the Fighting Irish 53-19 in the middle quarters for a commanding ... (click for more)

Baylor, Notre Dame, GPS, Meigs Girls All Winners

Baylor, Notre Dame, GPS and Meigs County all recorded opening round wins in the girls portion of the Best of Preps basketball tournament at Chattanooga State Friday, but only one of those four had a relatively-close game. Notre Dame improved to 9-3 with a come-from-ahead 45-38 win over Tyner after Baylor improved to 8-1 with an impressive 61-33 romp over Signal Mountain in the ... (click for more)