County’s Sentencing Circle program finds successWORTHINGTON — It has been one year since the Juvenile Sentencing Circle program was started in Worthington through Rock-Nobles Community Corrections (RNCC), and the agency’s lead people are finding success.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — It has been one year since the Juvenile Sentencing Circle program was started in Worthington through Rock-Nobles Community Corrections (RNCC), and the agency’s lead people are finding success.
Jon Ramlo, director of RNCC, and Erin Top, juvenile restorative agent, told Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday that there are a couple of active circle mentoring groups in the county today, with a third one to start in the near future. Among the juveniles participating in the program, their offenses have ranged from theft to vandalism.
The restorative justice program for juveniles brings together the victim and their support people, along with the offender and his or her parents, and at least one community volunteer.
“We discuss what needs to be done to repair the harm,” said Top. “The offender may have to pay restitution to the victim or help them repair the damage.”
One advantage of the program is that it allows the victim to have a say in the offender’s sentencing, and gives the victim a sense of closure and accomplishment after the offender has completed the program.
“If you are a victim and are able to see the impact you can make on a juvenile, there is some satisfaction,” said Ramlo.
As part of the Sentencing Circle program, the juvenile offender must write a letter of apology, complete community service/restitution, do daily journaling, earn “C’s” or better in all of their classes, remain law abiding, show respect for others and get involved in extra-curricular activities.
In 2008, Nobles County had 14 juveniles in the community corrections program who committed felonies, another 17 juveniles had gross misdemeanors, and 67 juveniles had committed misdemeanor offenses. The Sentencing Circle program is open only to those juveniles who have felony offenses. Those crimes cannot include sexually-based felonies or domestic violence.
Ramlo told commissioners they would like to get more mentoring programs started in the county, but there is a need for more people to volunteer from the community.
In other business, the board:
l Accepted the low bid of $1,521,460.06 from Duinink Bros. Inc., of Prinsburg, for the federal stimulus project on County State Aid Highway 1, between Brewster and Kinbrae.
l Granted a conditional use permit for Central Specialties of Alexandria to operate a temporary hot mix plant in the southwest quarter of Section 29, Westside Township.
l Approved a conditional use permit for Brian Lindemann of Rushmore to operate a new gravel pit and hot mix plant in the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 24, Little Rock Township.
l Approved the closure of Nobles County State Aid Highway 27 and Nobles County 73 from 4 p.m. June 11 to 4 a.m. June 12. The Rushmore Booster Club requested the closure for the annual Rushmore Heritage Days celebration.
l Received a summary of activities in the county’s Veterans Service Office from Bill Brockberg.
l Approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for Nobles County to continue to maintain Minnesota 264 between Interstate 90 and Round Lake during the winter months
l Approved a contract for services between Nobles County Family Services and the Jackson Recovery Center in Sioux City, Iowa, for inpatient chemical dependency treatment for adolescents.
l Approved a targeted case management services contract with UCare for mental health services for both children and adults.
l Approved the reappointments of Vernietta Hansberger, Jean Meester and Jane Moore to the Nobles County Library Board.
l Appointed Commissioner Vern Leistico to the newly established All Hazard Planning task force, with Commissioner Marv Zylstra as the alternate.