Office of Community Corrections
In general, community corrections programs are designed to supervise offenders in a local community. Originally referring to probationers and parolees, community corrections now places an emphasis on offenders released into the community, after arrest and charging, while awaiting trial (pre-trial). Kalamazoo County believes strongly in the importance of prison prevention - keeping offenders in the local community, coordinating community support systems, and helping them to re-engage pro-social behavior, and Kalamazoo County’s Office of Community Corrections (OCC) supervises criminal offenders who remain in our local community.
With Michigan’s prison commitment rate (PCR) increasing (it was approaching 35% in 1988), the state legislature looked at encouraging communities to divert low-risk felons from prison and keep them in their communities; in 1988, Public Act 511 was born (1988 PA511; MCL 791.401 et seq).
Known as the Community Corrections Act, “PA511” provided a framework for local units of government – cities, counties or any combination of cities and counties, to receive funding from the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), to assist in developing local options for sanctioning and rehabilitation of low-risk felony offenders. Local options for sanctioning and rehabilitation help to reduce the prison commitment rate and decrease the likelihood of an offender committing another crime (recidivism). Because each community has unique issues, PA511 requires any request for funding to be supported by a locally drafted, approved and controlled comprehensive plan, addressing the circumstances, issues and needs of the local community.
Kalamazoo County has had a Community Corrections program in place since 1990, and is a recipient of MDOC grant monies to help provide alternatives to incarceration for both pre-trial and post-conviction offenders. Alternatives offered by OCC include pre-trial case supervision services, cognitive programming, substance abuse testing and an urban employment initiative. All programs and services are designed using a rehabilitative approach, with careful consideration given to public safety.
Kalamazoo County has always been a leader in innovation. While the state’s PCR has decreased to just under 20% (2018) since the late 1980’s, Kalamazoo’s PCR is less than 11%. Thanks to the many alternatives to incarceration the county has available, Kalamazoo consistently has one of the lowest PCR’s in the state, and in 2018, the single lowest prison commitment rate in the state for any large county.
The links to the left provide an overview of our advisory body and the programs we offer. We strive to make your experience at OCC fair, and the opportunities plentiful and worthwhile.
Kalamazoo County Community Corrections