CHARLESTON – A local program that helps rehabilitate clients while saving the county money, received a $90,000 grant Thursday in Charleston, funding the program through the next fiscal year. Tucker County Community Corrections Director Dustin Luzier was presented with the grant by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in a ceremony in Charleston Thursday.
Luzier said he was excited to receive the funding.
“The Tucker County Community Corrections program is designed to help rehabilitate its clients, rather than focusing on punitive actions,” Luzier said. “We offer classes and trainings to help deal with the problems our clients are facing and we help them get back to being productive community citizens.”
Luzier said Tucker County Community Corrections offers group and individual counseling, 15 classes and GED preparation and testing. These help clients learn ways to deal with anger issues, learn job skills, control drugs and alcohol addiction, develop parenting skills and individual counseling.
“Our clients must work 40 hours per week,” Luzier said. “They can either have a job, work 40 hours in community service or a combination of both. This helps the community and offers a cost savings to the county. Clients perform community service at the Tucker County Senior Center, the Tucker County Animal Shelter, the landfill, the Five Rivers Library or other agencies. Clients gave 3,927 in community service hours in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.”
Luzier said the cost savings doesn’t stop with just community service.
“It costs Tucker County $48.25 per day for each person incarcerated in the regional jail,” Luzier said. “By working with these folks and keeping them out of the jails, Tucker County Community Corrections saved Tucker County residents $431,888 in regional jail fees.”
Luzier said the Tucker County Community Corrections program is a great service for the clients and the community, and said he has many success stories.
“There are many stories of those we have helped in the program,” Luzier said. “Many folks finish up the program and still come back and check in with us. They tell us they appreciate the help they received from the program, and many are starting new families and new jobs.”
He said sometimes folks who finish the program find themselves in a bad spot.
“We have had former clients come back and they need help,” Luzier said. “They come and talk to us and we can help them get the assistance they need before they get into trouble or perhaps become a repeat offender. We would rather help them deal with their issues and get the help they need and see them stay out of trouble.”
Another factor Luzier attributes to the program’s success is the cooperation and teamwork he feels in Tucker County.
“I couldn’t do this without the help of everyone in Tucker County,” Luzier said. “From the prosecutor to those in magistrate and circuit court, the Tucker County Commission and the state police, city police and state police – we all work like a team. That is why this county is able to succeed – teamwork.”
Tomblin announced funding for 157 justice and community service programs statewide Thursday, with funds totaling $12,769,410. This funding will be used to develop new and innovative programming and enhance existing iniatives to further safeguard West Virginia communities and the state justice system. Tucker County Community Corrections was one of those funding.
Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora, Tucker County Commission President Mike Rosenau and Tucker County Sheriff Brian Wilfong traveled with Luzier to Charleston for the presentation. The $90,000 grant was earmarked to be utilized for the establishment and operation of a community corrections program in Tucker County. Tucker County Community Corrections recently split with Randolph and Pocahontas County Community Corrections to form its own program.
Tucker County Community Corrections has an office in the old Tucker County Commission Office in Parsons and a satellite office in the Davis Volunteer Fire Department. Additional information about the Tucker County Community Corrections program is available by calling 304-478-2833.