The Portage County criminal justice system has long recognized the need for increased support and guidance for low risk offenders in our community. Too often, we see the disheartening return of offenders to the justice system on a daily basis because the offender continues to engage in destructive behaviors and unhealthy relationships.
The Volunteers in Probation program addresses the problem of our community’s high re-offense rate by matching community volunteer mentors with misdemeanor offenders to provide them with the support they need to reintegrate into the community successfully. The mentor supports the mentee VIP client with pro-social skill development, access to treatment and other community programming, including improved access to education and employment, to reduce the likelihood that the individual will reoffend. The program structure incorporates all the requirements of traditional sentencing while encouraging long-lasting personal changes in perspective and lifestyle through the support and guidance of the community mentor.
Statistical outcomes indicate that offenders in the VIP program are less likely to reoffend in comparison to similar offenders who are not enrolled in the program.