Community Corrections department helping Shelby County offenders rejoin the community

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 7:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Shelby County leaders are using a special program to help get non-violent offenders back on their feet.

Community Corrections offers everything from living arrangements to testing and court. It’s all designed to help people rejoin their communities.

The Community Corrections department includes members from the Shelby County DA’s Office and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office all working together to help provide offenders with tools they need and to stop re-offenses.

District Attorney Matt Casey said Shelby County created the department back in 2005 separate from the state department to specifically focus on non-violent Shelby County cases.

“Some people may not have a substance abuse problem, but they have mental health issues or vice versa,” Casey said. “Someone may be a veteran and has seen some things or had to deal with some things that most of us have never had to deal with so, they try to identify those needs and tailor them for that specific reason.”

DA Casey said there are members of the community who are not violent people, but they may have a drug or mental health problem that causes them to commit crimes.

“Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a prosecutor and if someone does something that we think needs to be prosecuted, we are going to do it, but there are instances in certain cases where we believe we can help people,” Casey said.

Now if the offender slips up, there are consequences for their actions through the alternative courts.

“A person can be kicked out of the alternative courts again if they pick up a new charge or if they are just not willing to not work with us in a way that we think is necessary,” Casey said.

The department works with several alternative courts like the drug or mental health court. They also work with other municipal courts like Alabaster, Pelham, and Chelsea.

Most of the time, these programs are used instead of sending that person to jail, mainly as a bond or probation situation.

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