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County corrections office to handle substance abuse cases

By By Kerry Whipple Bean
Escambia County’s community corrections office is taking on a new role, director Jerry Caylor told county commissioners Monday.
The office will take on the role of court referral officer, Caylor said, which means handling cases involving substance abuse. The community corrections office already handles nonviolent cases in an attempt to avoid jail time for nonviolent offenders.
Caylor said the additional work will take some time for his office to get used to handling.
Caylor said his office is working to set up an account to handle the influx of money from fines and fees related to the additional cases.
Commission Chairman David Stokes said the county has the ability to opt out of its contract with the state with 30 days notice.
Previously, the court referral officer was overseeing case in six counties, Caylor said. There was some question about the handling of those cases, Stokes said, so the responsibility has been divided among those counties.
Caylor said his office has received more than 300 case files of individuals in the CRO program, and about half are already compliant with their sentences.
In other business Monday, the commission:
Etheridge’s office is working on educational and industrial partnerships and programs to teach workforce skills to everyone from kindergarten to the oldest workers.