WKVI has been focusing on the work of the Starke County Probation Office this week. The four-person office is directed by Chief Probation Officer John Thorstad.
Thorstad explained that his office receives some much-needed assistance from the Community Corrections Program.
“Community Corrections has had a huge impact. It has relieved jail overcrowding. They have a program called ‘Thinking For a Change,’ which forces people to look in the mirror and decide how they want to change,” Thorstad said.
Thorstad says the jail overcrowding situation has not had much of an impact on his department.
“If you look at the jail list there are some pretty serious cases. There are some major players in there now,” said Thorstad. “I think, though, looking at a new jail is important because of the condition of the jail. We have to focus on the well being of the prisoners, that’s important.”
Of the 375 offenders he and his staff are working with, many come as a result of theft cases. Thorstad says drugs probably play a significant role in the number of theft cases.
“I think theft is always here because we live in a poor county. Really, though, I think a lot of theft cases are tied to drugs. People steal to pay for the drugs,” he said.
We want to thank John Thorstad for taking time this week to highlight the activities in the probation office – a very important part of the criminal justice system in Starke County.