Hamilton County Starts New Alternative Sentencing Program To Address Jail Capacity

Starting July 1, 2019, a first-of-its-kind Hamilton County partnership will provide additional treatment services to low-level, non-violent offenders in an effort to free up jail beds for more serious felony offenders.  

The Community Alternative Sentencing Center (CASC), is a partnership between Hamilton County Court Judges, Sheriff's Office, Board of County Commissioners and Office of Reentry.  Talbert House administers the program that provides 34 beds for men and 27 beds for women. Its goal is to stop the revolving door to the Justice Center by providing community-based treatment and re-entry services to help individuals with substance abuse issues reintegrate into the community after serving sentences. 

The services provided by the CASC include screenings and assessments, diagnosis, cognitive-behavioral treatment, behavior management, employment services, education and re-entry planning. 

There are two tracks. The first track is for low to moderate-risk offenders whose sentence meets mandatory minimum jail requirements for Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) or Driving Under Suspension (DUS). The second track is for offenders who have successfully completed jail-based treatment programing and still need more support such as release into a sober living environment. 

In addition, the Hamilton County Office of Reentry has been expanded to work closely with Pre-Trail Services, Probation and the Sheriff’s Office to identify additional individuals within the justice system needing re-entry plans and post-release wrap around services to reduce recidivism.   

This is the first time Hamilton County is taking advantage of a state law that permits mandatory minimum jail requirements for OVI offenders to receive treatment in a community-based setting. In the past, these individuals carried out their sentence in the justice system. 

“This allows us to free up more treatment beds to address the heroin and drug problems that are ravaging our communities,” said Kevin Bonecutter, Supervisor of Adult Probation.  “This program provides a holistic approach by providing the community-based step down program that offenders need to be successful and it provides accountability.”

The CASC program allows offenders to continue working during the day while attending treatment and classes at night.  
“For non-violent, low-level offenders, this program is the warm handoff from the jail into the community,” said Lisa Webb, Senior Policy Manager in the Office of Budget and Strategic Initiatives.

A portion of the funding for the CASC comes from the Targeted Community Alterative to Prison (TCAP) state grant program that provides funds to local communities to effectively supervise, provide treatment services and hold accountable low-level, non-violent offenders in the community.


Posted on 06/28/2019