July 1, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Probation’s diligence could net it an award

MEDINA — The Medina County Adult Probation Department is up for a statewide award.

The Clifford Skeen Award is presented each year to entities in Ohio working in the criminal justice field.

“It’s an award that’s given by the Ohio Department of Corrections to honor commitment to community corrections,” county Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry said.

This year, Medina is up against Wayne and Hancock counties.

Perry said the department is being considered because of how hard the county has worked to comply with common pleas sentencing reforms passed into law in 2011 by House Bill 86. The reforms involved finding alternative punishments for lesser felonies to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

“We’re one of the few departments that have been compliant and diligent in meeting the guidelines of the new law and implementing programming,” Perry said.

As part of the changes, the department focuses more on high-risk offenders to reduce the chance of them repeating their mistakes. Programs include increased reporting to the Probation Department and more drug testing.

An Ohio Department of Corrections auditor nominated the Probation Department after recognizing its work.

The next step in consideration for the award is a 45-minute interview later this month, Perry said. The winner will be announced in October.

The award has no grant attached, but Perry said it’s prestigious enough to help receive grants elsewhere.

She thanked Probation Department staff and county judges for helping the department to get this far.

“I couldn’t really do it without the judges’ support,” she said. “It’s been a whirlwind these past few years.”

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.