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 Justice applauds boost to Community Corrections program

8/8/2019

Aug. 8, 2019

Justice applauds boost to Community Corrections program

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Effective alternatives to incarceration are as critical as ever. Gov. Jim Justice is honoring a husband-and-wife team whose contributions promise to enhance West Virginia’s vaunted Community Corrections program.

 

Peter Ianniciello and Susan Stout received Certificates of Recognition on behalf of the governor Wednesday during a ceremony in the governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol.

 

The two helped develop a transparent, objective scoring system for Community Corrections applications, part of a revamped method for weighing those requests. Late last month, Justice announced $5.4 million in Community Corrections grants awarded to 30 Day Report Centers across the state. These centers provide needed services and supervision to offenders as an alternative to prison or jail.

 

The Justice and Community Services section within the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety oversees this grant program. Its subject matter experts closely follow the programs around the state and work tirelessly to oversee their effectiveness. Ianniciello and Stout have helped to focus that knowledge and experience to ensure best use of precious taxpayer dollars.

 

Ianniciello is a member of the Community Corrections subcommittee, which recommends the grant awards to the governor. Director of accounting programs at Ohio Valley University in Wood County, he is a certified public accountant and a certified internal auditor, and a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service agent. At the request of DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy, Ianniciello began closely examining grant applications and financial and other data for the counties submitting them.

"
Iannicello has decades of experience in the private and public sectors," Sandy said. "Governor Justice has promoted using the talent right here in the State of West Virginia to make sure West Virginia is never 50th in anything again.  This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked West Virginia Corrections and Public Safety 21st in the country." 


After identifying the framework for an objective awards process, Ianniciello enlisted Stout. A program manager at OVU’s College of Business, Stout is also a Certified Microsoft Expert. She crafted a computer-based spreadsheet that harnessed the information submitted in each application to arrive at a numerical score.

 

“It is all data-driven,” Ianniciello said. “(Stout’s) expertise brought my ideas to life.”

 

This new process weighs a program’s effectiveness alongside its county’s financial capabilities and capacity, through such factors as a cost-benefit analysis, reporting practices and grant compliance. It also embraces the Evidence-Based Correctional Program Checklist (CPC), a nationally recognized, empirical tool designed by the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI).

 

“It was easy to visualize,” Stout said. “I used such things as conditional formatting to color-code, so you could see which counties were doing average and which ones were low or were high. (The subcommittee) can see at a glance what was going on with the data.”

 

Day Report Centers and the Community Corrections grants that support them serve a key role in West Virginia’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative. These reforms have curbed what had been alarming growth in the state’s incarceration rate. Like JRI overall, the Day Report Centers are about being smart on crime. Berkeley’s center, for instance, recently estimated that it spent $13.50 a day on each of its participants who receive substance use treatment among other services. That’s contrasted by the $48.25 per day that a county is charged for each of its inmates in a regional jail.

 

 

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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 558-2930 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov