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Daily Journal on 02/13/2023 by Noah Crenshaw
Nearly a year after unifying Johnson County’s community corrections and probation departments under a single department, the benefits have already begun to materialize.
Johnson County Court Services was created last March, merging Community Corrections and Probation into a single department. While similar in many ways, Community Corrections is designed to fill a gap in offender supervision between jail and probation.
County officials pushed for the merger because it would reduce redundancies between the departments and streamline what the courts do daily.
“We were doing the same types of office visits, the same types of risk and needs assessments, we were referring people to the same programming,” said Angela Morris, director and chief probation officer for Johnson County Court Services.
Nearly one year on, many redundancies have been removed.
The formerly separate field teams for probation and community corrections have been combined. They also now have a shared program therapist to work with both probationers and community corrections participants, Morris said.
Additionally, the intake process for probationers and community corrections participants has been streamlined. Prior to the merger, both departments did their own intake processing, asking the same questions to offenders, she said.
“So a person on probation is hearing the same rules and conditions as the person that’s in community corrections on home detention and work release,” Morris said.