There will soon be another option for Erie County Judges when sentencing a person in court.
County Council approved a budget to move forward with a “day reporting center.”
Construction has already been started at the center which will be located at the city’s former Central Mall with hopes of reducing recidivism which will lead non-violent offenders to start a better path.
“It’s an option that allows people to stay in their community with a daily check in.” said Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.
Instead of sending non violent criminals to jail, judges will soon have an option to send people to a day reporting center.
“We believe this will reduce recidivism, that maybe that one time they get the help they need and move on with their life.” Dahlkemper said.
Erie County Council approved a $100,000 start up fund for the center. The budget also includes four positions for the center: an adult probation officer, DUI coordinator, deputy sheriff and administrative clerk.
Council members Andre Horton, Carol Loll as well as Dahlkemper have made visits to Franklin and Allegheny County day reporting centers to get a feel for them.
The center allows participants to get services they might need such as drug and alcohol programs, mental health assistance and possibly the ability to obtain a GED. Dahlkemper believes this option will be more productive for the county. She believes this will help individuals lead a better life and reduce the jail population.
The overall goal for Dahlkemper however is to get people to find a better path forward so they can become productive citizens.
This center will also save tax payers money by passing the $75 per day cost of an inmate.
“It takes stress off of the system and I think then we can really focus on the areas that we need to put our emphasis on.” said Judge John Trucilla, president judge of Erie County.
President Judge John Trucilla believes the new center provides judges the sentencing options outside the punitive environment of a jail cell. Trucilla says they are proactively looking to really reach out and help those that might need it which would include people that come into the system.
The goal is to have the center open sometime in mid-March or early April.