At a recent Crow Wing County board meeting, County Attorney Don Ryan, spoke about a pilot program to outsource certain probation cases to Diversions Solutions LLC. Diversions Solutions LLC is a company out of Red Wing, Minnesota with the goal of alleviating the stress county probation offices feel when confronted by high volumes of work. Crow Wing County introduced the program earlier this year and has been using it for traffic diversion and other low-level misdemeanor cases.
What is the purpose of probation?
Crow Wing County Community Corrections (CWCCC) states that probation aims to help offenders in the community mend damages caused by their crimes. Additionally, the goal of probation centers around restitution and preventing those with prior offenses from re-offending.
Probation agents create and implement plans to reinstate a previous offender into the community on a law-abiding path. However, an agent’s role differs upon the type of probation they have the time to provide.
Two different types of probation exist in Crown Wing County. Supervised probation is when an offender is personally assigned an agent. In such instances, they receive individual attention and help to successfully reintegrate into the community.
Meanwhile, unsupervised probation occurs when someone periodically checks up on an offender solely to see if they have any new charges. As reported by the Brainerd Dispatch, a case overload has forced mostly unsupervised release upon all Crow Wing County offenders for the last 15 years.
Is outsourcing cases the future?
Turning to a third-party to provide probationary services could help reduce large caseloads for probation agents and county offices. Diversion Solutions, LLC is even opening an office in Brainerd, Minnesota, which will make it easier for Crow Wing County to use their services.
Ryan claims the courts, prosecutors, defense attorneys and even the offenders view the program as favorable. He also says other counties are using it as a source of inspiration to start their own programs.
The program’s future is uncertain, but for now, it seems here to stay.