Officials seek ways to cut expenses of corrections

By Lanier Frush Holt

Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections officials are mulling over options that could take nearly $500,000 from community corrections next year.

The cuts amount to about 9 percent of the budget for the program that manages corrections programs for Dodge, Fillmore and Olmsted counties.

DFO already has implemented cuts amounting to a savings of $177,281. This was accomplished by several voluntary and one involuntary reduction in hours, having grant-related positions end, and obtaining some new federal funding.


The cuts are proposed even though the program has seen its caseload increase by more than 300 offenders since last year.

The additional cuts will result in reduced treatment for low-income adult sex offenders, reduced supervision for first-time driving-under-the-influence offenders, and reduced support and staff hours.

Contracted support for women involved in prostitution will end. A female sex offender treatment group and funding of polygraph tests for juvenile sex offenders will be eliminated in the proposed plan.

Advisory board members fretted about their decision to make the cuts.

"We're taking services from those that need it the most," said Dwayne Benda, chairman of the advisory board. "We're bordering on criminal activity."

The recommendations are part of a proposal that will be presented to the Olmsted County Board, which will begin discussions on next year's budget in October. The 2004 budget will be set in December.

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