|
|
|
Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections seeks to facilitate change

  • A program in development at Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections recently received notification that they have been fully certified by the Kansas Attorney General's office.
    The program, called "Options Program: Process of Change," is one of only 12 fully certified in the state and the only one in southwest Kansas.
    • email print
      Comment
  • A program in development at Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections recently received notification that they have been fully certified by the Kansas Attorney General's office.
    The program, called "Options Program: Process of Change," is one of only 12 fully certified in the state and the only one in southwest Kansas.
    The program is designed for those convicted of domestic violence. The first step is a court-mandated assessment completed through the Kansas Attorney General's office. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, clients may be recommended for the new program. Participation is not based on a one-time case but on a demonstrated pattern of physical violence.
    The program began in February with three men and has grown to five. A women's group has been added and a Spanish-language group is expected to be in place by the end of the year.
    The creation of the program was in part due to a new law which took effect in July. The law suggests that all domestic violence calls made by local law enforcement be flagged. Then, if the case gets pled down to a charge not involving domestic violence, the incident will still be flagged in the system.
    According to Pat Klecker, director of Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections, Ford County communications received 299 domestic violence calls in 2009, 349 calls in 2010 and 348 calls in 2011.
    "And this year, it's up to 195 in the first six months," Klecker said. "You can pretty much count on 3 domestic violence arrests in any given week."
    Participants in the program meet once a week for at least 26 weeks.
    The program is designed to be self-funding, with the cost of the program paid for by the participants.
    Enabling change
    "Our program is based on the belief that people can change, that violence is a choice, and therefore that the choice of violence can be changed," said Sue Klecker, coordinator of the program.
    Mrs. Klecker got involved in developing the program when her husband realized there was a need for such a program and that it would most likely fall to him to put it in place.
    "It's been an added bonus, having a husband-wife team do the program," Pat said. "We've learned in training and in experience that you've got to be 'in the pool' with the clients and you can't expect them to go in the deep end if you're not willing to go there too."
    The weekly work, based on previously successful models around the country, explores power and control.
    "It's not about shame," Sue said. "They're treated with dignity. We explore their thinking — how they tell themselves their behavior is all right."
    Unfortunately, it's a program for which demand is likely to grow.
    Thirty to forty percent of women have been in a physically abusive relationship with an intimate partner or have experienced physical abuse.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It's not just the batterer who's affected by this program. The classes can affect their home, their children and even the children's social group. It ripples out and creates a better environment," Sue said.
    Although working with the batterers, the program keeps the victims in mind.
    "Our main focus is on victim safety," Sue said. "We believe the old saying the 'If better is possible, good is not enough.'"
    For more information about the program, visit www.fordcounty.net, click on Departments, then Community Corrections, then Batterers Intervention Program.

        calendar