Probation up for debate
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 11:50 am
"This is something that needs to be looked at very quickly," Judge Susan Melton told County Commissioners Thursday night.
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."