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Probation up for debate

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MIKE WEST
Courier Editor


Cannon County is beginning the process of selecting a new method of handling probation cases in local courts.


Providence Community Corrections, is headquartered in Greenville, S.C. Currently handling probation in Cannon County, PCC is the focus of a lawsuit in Rutherford County and is in the process of going out of business.

"This is something that needs to be looked at very quickly," Judge Susan Melton told County Commissioners Thursday night.
"CTAS (County Technical Assistance Service), the sheriff and myself are looking at our best options. PCC is going out of business soon. CTAS is running the numbers," Melton said.

The lawsuit in Rutherford County claims PCC is violating racketeering laws by jailing poor people who fail to pay court fines and by refusing to waive fees for the indigent, according to Federal Court documentation.

Rutherford County has decided to handle their probation cases in house and is not interested in handling Cannon County cases.

"This cannot be done off the cuff. Training would be necessary" before Cannon County could handle any probation cases, the judge said.

While Cannon County has only a fraction of the cases compared to Rutherford County, local courts do have 178 people on probation in misdemeanor cases and eight in Circuit Court cases. The local cases contribute nearly $200,000 to the county's budget.

"We are trying to do this in an expedited manner," Melton said. "My hat's off to PCC. They have offered to do anything we need, including donating computers and other equipment."

County Executive Mike Gannon appointed an ad hoc committee to help with the discussion.

Gannon named Commissioners Jamie Holloway, Karen Ashford and Jim Bush to what he dubbed the "Probation Committee."

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COURIER SPOTLIGHT
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PCC, Probation
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