Martin named IACCAC Director of the Year; Attributes Success to Entire Program | New
âWe have changed to become community oriented. We have an amazing team doing their job to the best of their ability and giving us time to look outside and see where we can make a positive impact in the community.
Josh Martin became Director of Community Corrections for Shelby County in June 2020. This year, he received the statewide Director of the Year award.
Martin literally started at the bottom and worked his way up to the top.
âIt took a lot of patience, but looking back I was grateful to have the opportunity to start where I was and see a bit of everything in the office,â he said. âBy working in advance, you can see the fees and collections. As a case manager, you can see the court process and also go out into the field and visit people at home or at work. Really, it exposed me to all the work in the office.
Since he became director, he has had to implement many changes. Starting with the promotion of Lindsay Devine. Both had already been on the program for a long time.
âI started in August 2014 at the front office, then Lindsay was leaving the day I started and she came back in 2016,â Martin said. “She was the Juvenile Case Manager at the time and I promoted her to Deputy Director.”
The two agreed the department was in dire straits, both before and at the onset of COVID.
âThere was a time when we worked from home, about 90% of the office was, and with our jobs, who we deal with, our participants, you can’t function that way,â Martin said. âPeople needed our help and support. They needed us here to keep this structure in their life. They lost us, and then they lost the programming and processing they were going to.
The first thing Martin and Devine did was clean up confusing or unnecessary policies.
âI knew that when I arrived I had to look at our COVID guidelines and how we were going to operate safely,â he said. âWe made sure our participants always come in, but they don’t come back into the office. They met in a training room. So we made our appointments there safely – six feet was the guideline, but I think we were closer to 18 feet of separation. “
Participants still wear masks when entering.
In July 2020, the department unexpectedly lost a staff member. In the months that followed, three more staff retired or resigned.
âCOVID, with new management, the death of a staff member – we have almost a whole new staff here,â Devine said. âThere are only a few people who have stuck around. There have been a lot of changes over the past year and a half.
Other changes include the implementation of some new programs.
They brought back the Road Crew and coordinate monthly projects with the city. They also carried out projects with the County Roads Department and the Recycling District. These groups take adults to clean up a park or pick up garbage.
Community Corrections has also implemented the Community Service Learning Project, which aims to get young people out of the community and teach them a skill.
âWe needed a program that was going to help schools solve their vaping problem,â said Martin.
âVape, cigarettes, stuff like that,â Devine continued. âWhen kids are in trouble but don’t need to be arrested or go to court. We have developed the project so that we can bring them out into the community so that they can learn more about their community and be involved.
Martin added that community corrections is still looking for partners for the community service learning project.
Another new community corrections program being implemented is the Recovery Support Program.
âThis is electronic surveillance, but these people live in a convalescent home or in a convalescent home,â Martin said. âTheir case is handled by us, and there is a containment-type team that meets monthly, which includes the case manager, someone from the home and the participant. “
Devine believes this program has given the community the opportunity to get help.
âWe see people in the community who may have wanted help for a long time to get help,â she said.
Martin said that several people have mobilized to ensure the start of this program, including a few prosecutors and a probation officer.
So the first year the department focused on fixing things internally. Once that was done, Community Corrections became more diverse.
âLindsay and I knew pretty early on that we were going to have to do a lot of things, that there was no transition,â said Martin. âWe were going to have to hit the ground running. “
Director of the year
Martin’s experience and efforts led Devine and five others to nominate Martin for the Indiana Association of Community Corrections Act County (IACCAC) Director of the Year award.
Devine knew about it for four weeks before finding it.
âI had to keep it a secret,â she said. âI never told him. He found out on the day of the conference when they announced his name in front of everyone.
Community Corrections staff attended an annual conference last week, where Martin received the award.
âWith the award they were giving, I think they were looking for certain things, and Josh met what the department wanted them to do with the agency, offering new programs and different trainings that everyone attended. “Devine said. “I think that’s what they were looking for with their Director of the Year, someone who has those qualities and Josh has those qualities.”
âI always feel like it’s an agency award, it shouldn’t go to a person or an individual,â Martin said. âIf people knew what our office came out of, you would agree that everyone deserves this. “
Community Corrections has plans to implement new programs over the coming year.
âWe plan to sponsor children who cannot afford to get involved in extracurricular activities to give them something to do after school,â said Martin. “So if they can’t afford a musical instrument to participate in a band, or the expense to participate in gymnastics or a baseball league, or something like that.” “
The department will also work with Unite Indy to implement an employment network program. This program will start on the first of 2022.
âGetting people jobs and trying to help them get sober are our main goals right now,â Devine said.
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