The Sussex County Home Detention Program Collaborates with Family Court
The Sussex County Department of Human Services launched the Home Detention Program (HDP) in December 2009. The HDP provides daily face to face contact with its clients, 24 hour electronic monitoring through GPS tracking and case management services. Additionally, the HDP staff ensures the client is in compliance with court ordered treatment by removing transportation barriers.
To date, the HDP has served, approximately, 140 juveniles within Sussex County. Through daily supervisions and case management, assistance with transportation, and random drug screens, the HDP strives to reduce the number of violations of probation and connect the juvenile and his/her family to community based services, which may be mandated by Family Court.
"The Home Detention Program provides children who have violated the law the opportunity to comply with orders issued by the Superior Court and learn the consequences of their actions. The HDP maintains children in the community under close supervision allowing contact in their home and community. This costs less than incarceration and enables staff to work with the children and their families," said Stephen Gruchacz, Administrator for the Sussex County Department of Human Services.
On April 27, 2012, Lt. Mark Turtur and Program Coordinator Kristen Thompson of the HDP participated in the Superior Court's "Bring Your Children to Work Day." The theme this year was to teach children and youth ranging in ages from 5 to 15 years old about juvenile court proceedings.
The children and youth learned about secure detainment (juvenile detention center), in-home detention (electronic monitoring), and observed a juvenile court hearing in front of the Honorable Edward Gannon, JSC. They were able to see how the electronic monitor worked, how a person wearing the monitor was able to be tracked through GPS, and what the rules were for in-home detention. Additionally, through observing the court proceedings, the children and youth learned what different types of consequences could be imposed if they violate the law.
The children and youth were full of questions and were active participants in the Home Detention presentation. At the end of the day, they truly understood the significance of obeying their parents and school teachers and remaining out of trouble.