JACKSON COUNTY, Ala – Jackson County’s Community Corrections Program is under investigation. The program is run by a private company, which has raised concerns and complaints. “Some of the complaints are that the drug test at the end of the cycle, they would be weak. Their urine would be weak and they would have to be put on for six more months and it was just a money thing,” says Commissioner Tim Guffey.
The Jackson County Commission believes it can do a better job. They want to take over the program. Those inside the corrections system say they’re not the problem. “The corrections program is where felons that would ordinarily be serving their sentence with the department of corrections in prisons throughout the state that instead they’d get to live at home,” says Judge Jennifer Holt, presiding circuit judge.
Judge Holt says the corrections system helps inmates become productive citizens. She says the commission’s concerns are more about the court referral program, two totally different entities. “The legislature has passed laws that require those who are convicted of a drug or alcohol offense to be evaluated by the court referral program.”
A representative from the state’s Department of Corrections was at the meeting and confirmed that Jackson County’s Corrections Department is up to code and hasn’t violated any rules. “It really didn’t convince me,” debates Guffey. The commission says they still need to see more. “We had our own study done and they’ve yet to produce the documents to see to prove what they’re saying is correct.”
The issue was tabled after today’s meeting and isn’t going away anytime soon.