June 3, 2020 – El Paso County’s Community Services Department has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. El Paso County Community Services won its 2020 NACo Achievement Award in the Justice and Public Safety category for its Community Corrections Self Surrender Project.
The Community Services Department worked extremely hard on this innovative program, and the award was a welcome surprise Wednesday morning, when NACo gave notice to the 2020 Achievement winners.
“We are proud to win this award which represents the effort of many stakeholders across our local justice system to work in a new, creative way to best deliver services to our residents,” said Community Outreach Division Manager, Christine Burns.
The Self Surrender Project is indeed an innovative program that aims to reduce the use of county jail beds by those sentenced to community corrections as they wait for an open bed in the community corrections facility. The project provides certain offenders with the opportunity to maintain existing protective factors, such as employment and community support, while waiting placement. The self-surrender project provides an additional option upon sentencing for the District Court other than jail. The Court can now allow, in collaboration with the community corrections agency, identified individuals appropriate to remain in the local community after given a date to self-surrender to the designated community corrections facility. Project Self Surrender meets community goals of reducing the use of jail beds, serving justice, lowering recidivism and supporting behavior change.
Instrumental to the success of the program was the active and collaborative participation of the local justice system stakeholders to include the District Attorney’s office, Office of the Public Defender, 4th Judicial District Court, 4th Judicial Probation, ComCor Inc. and Community Alternatives of El Paso as well as El Paso County Community Corrections staff.
El Paso County is proud to report, that as of the end of January 2020, the 4th Judicial District Court has given self-surrender to 73 individuals. Of those, 71 have surrendered as court ordered. This represents a 93% successful surrender rate.