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Corrections officials describe new probation program

By Maura Wery

Community Corrections Director Shelly Williams outlined for Riley County commissioners Thursday an eight-week-old probation program.

Program 180 targets high-risk offenders by giving them swifter and shorter sentences if they violate their probation. Williams worked alongside Judge David Stutzman to create the program, which mimics a program in Hawaii.

Before the program was implemented, Williams said corrections went through a lengthy process in order to reprimand those who violated their probation terms.

She said they would have to get a bench warrant, have the violator arrested, have the violator bond out and then hold a violation hearing 30 days later. Program 180 would reduce that substantially, with immediate detention and jailing from 24 to 48 hours. The violation hearing will be at the end of that period and Judge Stutzman will decide whether the violator will require more time in jail.

“You’re dealing with impulsivity at its core,” Williams said. “We are hoping they will think more because of the immediate consequences.”

So far, the program has seen eight people come through and none have violated their probation terms.

Commissioner Dave Lewis advised Williams to keep an eye on the North Central Kansas Juvenile Detention Facility, which is in Junction City. According to Lewis, Saline County recently decided to close its juvenile detention facility at the end of the year, possibly pushing 12 juvenile inmates to the Junction City facility. He said that could impact it both financially and in terms of space.

“Expansion would be costly,” Williams said. The issue is important to Riley County because it helps fund the facility in exchange for being able to send juvenile inmates there.

Appeals, higher home sales and permits

County appraiser Greg McHenry said the number of informal appeals of property valuations is down by around 40 in comparison to 2012.

McHenry told commissioners that 414 appeals were scheduled this year, with 198 of them being residential appeals and 117 being commercial

He said his office has also sent out the state-mandated change of value notices for personal property. Around 4,600 such notices were mailed, and those included instructions for property owners on how to appeal. They have until May 15 to do so.

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