The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 2, 2006

Court-referral officer okayed by Limestone

The Limestone County Commission approved an agreement with the Administrative Director of Courts to fund a court-referral officer to work in conjunction with the Community Corrections Program.

Revenue Enhancement Director Rodney Jackson said the hiring of Beth Batts at $48,000 a year is more of a “housekeeping” procedure than a new position.

Jackson said Batts has been a court-referral officer of Limestone County through her work with the North Central Alabama Substance Abuse Council, based in Cullman, since 1992.

“Under the Mandatory Treatment Act of 1990, anyone who commits an alcohol- or drug-related crime that result from alcohol or drugs must be evaluated by a court-referral officer,” said Jackson. “She was formally supervised by the organization out of Cullman, but many of her clients are the same as are involved in our Community Corrections Program.”

Under the agreement, the Administrative Director of Courts reimburses the county $2,250 per month, instead of the Cullman agency, to go toward Batts’ salary. However, according to Commission Chairman David Seibert, that does not cover the full salary. He said the remainder comes from the fines or fees paid by clients of Community Corrections.

“There is money being taken in by the office,” said Seibert. “They pay to stay out of jail, in effect. For example, if a person does not pay child support, he has been jailed in the past. Now, he can stay in the free world and a portion of his salary goes into the fund.”

The Community Corrections Program office is on the second floor of the courthouse, in the suite formerly occupied by Probate Judge Mike Davis

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