Barron County recently honored volunteers and below is the message from responders in the area and more information about the work connecting with the community and programs that are affecting the area.
In 2004 the new Barron County Jail was opened and designed with three classrooms, two main rooms fully equipped with technology, whiteboards, cabinets, tables, and seating space to accommodate a wide variety of program opportunities. This came especially useful during the Covid19 pandemic when programs went virtual.
Currently offer 35 jail programs. Types of Programs: Education, Religion, Rehabilitation, Parenting & Relationships, Coping, Cognitive Behaviors, and Post Release Support
13-15 ongoing programs at one time
51 active jail volunteers: Professionals, religious, and educational all ranging from 1 year to
19 years of volunteer service.
Each program runs its own course where it may be continuous through the year, seasonal or calendar rotation, and implement new programs to meet the inmate or societal needs with any current economic state. For example, during this time when mental health has become prevalent we incorporated Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Intervention, We Cope, and Extreme Ownership. With drugs as a struggle we have included Bondage Breaker, Crossroads Addiction, Mountain Men, NA, and AA along with resources to obtain a sponsor upon release.
October of 2021 the Barron County jail has been able to reach a long-time goal of helping individuals here obtain their high school education. At a Northwood Technical College Advisory Committee Meeting we discussed direction of the jail’s GED program and collaborated ideas to meet this goal. Northwood Tech developed a grant-funded 5.09 HSED program.
Students complete coursework and GED exams to successfully pass 7 competencies: Health, Reading, Civics, Science, Math, Writing, and Employability Skills to meet the requirements to apply for their diploma. Any GED exams taken at another facility, college, or courses completed in a high school will transfer into this program thereby potentially reducing the requirements needed.
In two years we have had 30 individuals complete their HSED requirements and have applied to WI DPI for their high school diploma. We have had 19 partially complete their HSED (often due to limited time they are here).
Looking at statistics of HSED completions we have seen 40% not receive any new charges, 43.3% also not receive new charges although not counted due to their current incarceration status, 13.3% have decreased their recidivism rate ranging from 50%-80%, and 0.04% did not change their recidivism rate. Of all of these we have observed zero% increase their recidivism.