Trumbull to receive grant for alternatives to prison

As part of a statewide push to examine the value of prison diversion programs, Trumbull County is set to receive a grant that could be worth about $656,625, according to Wednesday’s announcement by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Dubbed the Smart Ohio Plan, the grant will cover supervision and treatment for offenders in the probation service program as long as there is no prison commitment attached to the sentence.

“The Smart Ohio Plan will help communities with their prison diversion and community corrections efforts,” ODRC Director Gary C. Mohr said. “Together, we are identifying necessary resources to provide appropriate sentencing alternatives to prison and for those who are sent to prison, aiming to prepare those offenders for life after prison and help them become a productive member of society.”

To date, 29 counties have been awarded a Smart Ohio Funding Pilot grant.

Counties had the option of choosing from three funding models, with the first being the coverage of probation service costs. That was the option Trumbull County chose.

The second option increases resources for community treatment of offenders, and the third encourages the increased use of community alternative sanctions for nonviolent fourth and fifth degree felony offenders by offering potential reimbursement of $5,500 per targeted offender diverted from prison.

“It is a matter of treating people differently by keeping noncompliant, dangerous offenders in secure setting, while supporting the successful transition of those committed to turning their lives around,” Mohr said.

Counties will receive quarterly disbursements based upon the type of funding model awarded and reported progress data provided to ODRC.

The program will run through the fiscal year 2015 and will be evaluated to determine their effectiveness in providing alternatives to prison commitments.