The Chief Probation Officer of the Starke County Probation Department recently received a prestigious state award.
John Thorstad is this year’s recipient of the Order of Augustus Award in the memory of John Augustus, who is known as the “Father of Probation.” Augustus started the rehabilitation movement in corrections.
Thorstad was nominated by his staff. His nomination was then voted on by the Probation Officers Advisory Board, which is a branch of the Indiana Supreme Court.
The award is given to one probation officer in the state each year.
Thorstad has worked as a probation officer for 25 years, an achievement that was recognized earlier this year. He has been a probation officer in Starke County for just over six years.
Thorstad says about 400 Starke County residents are on probation through his department that is less than what he has seen in the last few years.
“We’ve seen a downward trend in felony filings and those coming on probation,” said Thorstad. “With the change in the criminal law last year from four levels of felonies to six, some of the lower level drug offenses were switched to misdemeanors. Theft cases were lowered as well, and there were several of those cases. We saw a big shift of some of those lower felony cases now going to city court.”
Thorstad notes that his recognition shows what kind of work he and his staff are doing and a positive accomplishment for the county.
Photo provided by John Thorstad.