6W seeks to maintain supervision levels

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Editor’s note: As 6W Community Corrections looks to balance its budget it has been studying its options in reducing staff and the number of people on probation and parole that it supervises. However, no easy fixes have appeared. Instead, 6W has gone to the counties that it serves requesting an increase in funding.
6W provides parole and probation services for Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties. Two commissioners from each of the counties serve on its board along with a judge.
It is expected that the agency will have a $117,000 deficit this year, requiring it to draw from its reserves to make ends meet. It is proposing a balanced budget for 2015, but that will depend on the four counties increasing their contributions by 16 percent.

Early discharging
One way 6W could lighten its load is to discharge some of the people under its supervision early.
But 6W already has a pretty rigorous early discharge policy with offenders, Director Midge Christianson said. Offenders can earn an early out from supervision based on their compliance with probation and parole requirements and their type of offense.
“For a two-year gross misdemeanor DWI, if you were very compliant, had no violations and got everything done in the first year, you could get early discharge in the first year,” she said.
For misdemeanors, except for DWIs and property, if it was a crime that involved a person, the offender has to stay on the majority of the year they were sentenced to probation. “We don’t discharge them early,” she told Swift County’s board of commissioners last month.
With felons, it goes by the total amount of probation that they are ordered up front. If it is five years or 10 years, they can get about one-third off if they are totally compliant, Christianson said.

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