ANDERSON – Madison County officials are hoping that the third time is the charm when it comes to operating a women’s work-release center.
Madison County has received a $341,104 grant from the Indiana Department of Correction to partially fund a women’s work-release center.
Ann Roberts, executive director of the Madison County Community Justice Center, said she will have to request additional funding from the Madison County Council from misdemeanant funds for the operating costs.
Commissioner John Richwine said Tuesday the women’s work-release center will be opened before the end of the year.
“We don’t have a location,” he said. “We have a location under consideration.”
Richwine said initially the center will house 12 women with a capacity of between 24 and 32 women when fully operational.
Roberts said the Community Justice Center is in the process of purchasing beds and interviewing potential employees.
Twice before, Madison County attempted to operate a women’s work-release center in the late 1990s and again in the early 2000s without success. Those efforts failed because of a lack of referrals from the courts, or enough women offenders to support the program.
Madison Circuit Court 3 Judge Thomas Newman said the news of the women’s work-release center comes at a good time for everyone involved in the justice system in Madison County.
Indiana’s new criminal code, which took effect July 1, shifts emphasis on punishment and rehabilitation from the state to individual counties and communities. Newman said the added facet to community corrections is long overdue.
“This will allow our women here to have the same opportunities and enjoy the benefits of work release,” Newman said. “We’ve tried to get it off the ground, but now it will have the appropriate support system. We’ve needed it for a long time.”