Those given probation in Grovetown Municipal Court have to drive to Evans to check in and pay fines.
Grovetown Department of Public Safety Chief A.L. Robinson is hoping to change that by creating the city's own Probation Department. The city council recently approved the venture.
Currently, the nearly 200 Grovetown probationers must drive to the Evans office Sentinel Offender Services. The company has provided probation supervision for municipal court for several years. Most of the probationers live in Grovetown.
"Not that they have done a bad job or anything, but we feel like we can keep it in-house, make it more convenient for the probationers and work a little bit more with the municipal court," Robinson said.
The new department, which would be staffed by one person, should be running in the next couple of months in a recently rented building at 311 E. Robinson Ave., across from department headquarters. The department handled its own probation services in the mid-1990s, but Robinson said it was difficult because the person overseeing it also had other duties.
The venture is not meant to be a money-making one, but Robinson said he thinks making the office more convenient will raise fine collections. It also would allow easier access for the handful of probationers who are home-bound or don't have a vehicle or driver's license.
"We're also going to have some home contacts also," Robinson said. "In a way, you are trying to rehabilitate these people so they are not back in court again ... If it takes us going to their house to visit versus them not being able to show up for a visit and go back to court, be revoked, spend time in jail and not pay their money, we'd rather go the extra step."
Robinson said probationers pay a $44 monthly supervision fee to Sentinel. It is undecided if the city's probation system will require a supervision fee, he said.
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