Dodge and Olmsted Community Corrections unveils new facility

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(ABC 6 News)- Dodge and Olmsted Community Corrections will have staff move into a new facility within the next month, as the team works to rehabilitate people who have committed crime in the community.

The expansion is part of a larger project at the Olmsted County Government Center that includes adding another courtroom, and connecting Community Corrections with court administration.

The reconstruction comes at a time when correctional practices as a whole are being reconstructed too. Director of facilities Matt Miller and Director of D&O Community Corrections Nikki Niles are hopeful this physical makeover mimics a recent policy makeover.

“Really shifting from that: “you did this crime, go to jail, good luck to you…” to really imbedding in those supports that we know help our clients in their lives,” Niles said of this new policy.

It’s called dosage probation, and it went into effect in the county, Jan. 1.

Instead of serving an entire 5-year probationary period, dosage probation allows some former inmates to serve a set number of hours. If they complete those hours in less than five years, they are off probation.

The new model is coupled with interventions on whatever the client needs to become a successful member of society, such as reducing chemical dependency. Dodge and Olmsted counties are following a trend of corrections throughout the state that is less punitive, and more restorative.

“Rehabilitative, to punitive, to a combination of both, back to punitive…we’ve been all over this gambit, and we know that that doesn’t work,” Niles said.

One of the goals of the new space is to facilitate genuine connections between probation officers and clients, to reduce the likelihood of clients reoffending.

“Ultimately all of our clients are humans, and we want to make sure they come into a space where they feel comfortable,” said Miller.

The county is hoping their new courtroom will be open by May 2023, according to Miller.