Changes on the way at Rock-Nobles Community CorrectionsKathy Reker retiring after 32 years WORTHINGTON — After 32 years of working with Rock-Nobles Community Corrections (RNCC), Kathy Reker has absolutely no idea how many clients she has talked to over the years or how many pre-sentence investigations she has conducted.
WORTHINGTON — After 32 years of working with Rock-Nobles Community Corrections (RNCC), Kathy Reker has absolutely no idea how many clients she has talked to over the years or how many pre-sentence investigations she has conducted.
“Let’s just go with a lot,” she said with a chuckle.
She served her last day on Friday and is now ready for retirement.
“I decided to ease into it and not make a lot of plans,” she admitted.
Knowing that Reker was up for retirement, RNCC Director Jon Ramlo said he and the others in the office started working on a transition plan in May that will realign some responsibilities in the office. For a six-month trial period, Reker will not be replaced. Instead, a different model will be used.
There will be a high-risk agent with a small caseload. Those assessed as high-risk clients need more personal attention, and may meet with their agent once a week. The agent responsible for these clients will have a caseload of 30 to 50, Ramlo said.
Then there are medium-risk clients who meet with an agent once a month or so, depending on how they adjust.
“We do a lot of field work, and may see the clients at their homes or at their place of employment,” Ramlo stated.
Two agents will be assigned to the medium-risk clients. Each will carry a caseload of about 150 clients.
The low-risk clients — those not deemed a risk to society — generally meet in groups once every few months after attending a few counseling sessions. At the group meetings, speakers talk about services that are available, community education, public health and even tax preparation.
“Some of the clients aren’t appropriate for group, so the agent still meets with them individually,” Ramlo explained.
The agent assigned to the low-risk clients will have a caseload of approximately 300, he said.
Some of the more unusual cases and the extended jurisdiction juvenile cases, Ramlo handles himself. The other juvenile cases are assigned to another agent.
“We’ll still continue the circles and the community service stuff,” Ramlo said.
This will result in five agents and Ramlo at RNCC after Reker leaves, at least for the six-month trial period.
“If it doesn’t work, we can hire another person,” Ramlo said. “When we first brought the idea to the corrections board, they said we could give it a try, so we’ll try.”
Reker, who helped come up with the plan, said she thinks it will work well.
“We all talked about it, came up with the plan together, and I think it’s a good one,” she stated. “It should make caseloads easier. I think everyone will fit into their new roles well.”
Reker was responsible for felony cases and had both high- and medium-risk clients. Some of them she saw over the years on a regular basis, and always enjoyed watching them make changes, going on with their lives to do better.
“Not all of them do,” she added.
The hardest part of her job was seeing those fail who she thought would make it.
“I hate to see them do that to themselves and hurt their families,” Reker admitted. “I would see them start to do well, and then their lives would fall apart and they would have to start all over again.”
The biggest problem she saw on a regular basis, she said, was drug and alcohol addictions, which often led to other crimes.
When Monday rolls around and she doesn’t get up and head off to work, the thing she’ll miss the most is the people.
“The others in the office, some clients, and the other agencies we work with,” she listed. “I’ll miss them.”
Even so, she has no plans to return to work.
“I’ll putz around the house and do some knitting, and I read a lot,” she said. “I’m also going to spend a lot of time with my nieces and nephews.”