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Pre-release center to be a ‘flophouse’?

By Walter Geiger The Department of Corrections (DOC) has new plans for the local facility off the MLK bypass which housed a pre-release center before it was shut down and mothballed in April 2011. The Herald Gazette has learned the facility will reopen by June 1 as a probation day reporting center, replacing one currently in operation in Griffin. Neighbors of that facility have described it as a ‘˜flophouse’. Day reporting centers do not house inmates overnight. They provide more intensive supervision for probationers who have been noncompliant on traditional probation. The move is apparently part of the DOC’s regionalization efforts. Indications are the local center will handle probationers from both the Griffin and Towaliga court circuits. According to the DOC website, there are 15 such facilities operating in the state, providing ‘intensive substance abuse treatment for up to 100 offenders sentenced by courts or who have not responded to more traditional supervision and treatment efforts’. Typical programs offered at such a facility in addition to substance abuse counseling are anger management, cognitive restructuring, adult basic education, employment enhancement, intensive supervision and community service. The local facility opened on May 8, 2006 as a medium security prison for inmates near their release dates. It was touted as potentially employing 45-50 staff members with a payroll of near $2 million but the staffing and economic impact never reached those numbers. DOC inmate crews were at the facility over the weekend cleaning it in preparation for its new mission.

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