Marathon County offers a variety of alternatives to incarceration to reduce the number of people who reoffend and the number of jail bed days used each year.  The following is a brief description of the programs available through the Justice Alternatives Office. 

Community Service Programming - Offenders perform community service to work off fines, in lieu of jail time, as part of a court ordered sentence, as a consequence for violating probation rules, or as a program requirement for a treatment plan/alternatives plan.  Community service is provided to a number of sites throughout Marathon County.  All sites must be either non-profit or governmental agencies. The type of services varies depending on the needs of the site sponsor.  There are four supervised work crews per week for a total of 18 hours per crew per week.

Assessment - Offenders receive several types of screening and assessment.  The Marathon County Jail screens offenders using a jail classification system to determine what type of supervision is most appropriate.  This screening may lead to a further risk assessment if an offender wishes to be consider for electronic monitoring. If appropriate, the offender is placed in the community where they are monitored and complete their sentences and recommended programming.  All offenders entering the criminal justice system are offered a screening to determine to what extent alcohol, drugs and mental health issues are contributing to their criminality. This screens aids in determining what level of treatment and/or supervision is most likely to result in the offender not committing another crime.

Day Report - Offenders report for alcohol and drug testing, job searches and in person reporting.  Urinalysis and breath testing is conducted up to 7 days a week , two times per day using a random color code call in system.

Educational Groups - The following educational groups are provided.

  • Corrective Thinking - Offenders learn about criminal thinking patterns, slowing down the thought process and identifying errors in their thinking.  Groups are 1 1/2 hours long for 10 weeks.
  • Reasoning and Rehabilitation - Offenders are presented with an intensive cognitive approach, exploring their beliefs, behavior, problem solving, conflict resolution and anger management.  Groups are 2 hours two times per week for 18 weeks.
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse - Offenders learn about the effects and dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse.  Groups are 1 1/2 hours per week for 10 weeks.
  • Corrective Thinking - Targets offenders with more severe errors in thinking.  Offenders explore thought process, criminal thinking errors and how to identify and change their own thinking errors.  Groups are 1 1/2 hours long and meet two times per week for 10 weeks.

Intensive Supervision Program - Targets offenders with multiple Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating after Revocation (OAR) or Operating after Suspension offenses.  Referrals are either as a condition of their bond or as part of their sentence.  The goal of this program is to reduce recidivism by having repeat offenders begin treatment more quickly and reduce taxpayer costs related to criminal prosecution and incarceration.  This is accomplished through pre-trial and post sentence supervision and case management, educational groups, and early referral to formal treatment.  Offenders who volunteer to participate in assessment and treatment prior to conviction receive a reduced jail sentence. 

Driving with Care - All 4th and above OWI offenders on probation in Marathon County are required to complete Driving with Care.  It is an intensive outpatient program which last approximately one, meeting two hours per session twice a week provided through North Central Health Care.  This is an evidence based program with research results demonstrating reduced recidivism in future OWI offenses.

Justice Volunteer Program - The following are programs that are voluntary for certain types of offenses.

  • Volunteer in Probation - Targets offenders with first time misdemeanor offenses.  Upon assessment and determination of appropriateness for the program offenders enter a plea of guilty or no contest and a Deferred Entry of Judgment is placed on them.  During the program offenders are provided case management, educational groups, community service or Day Report based on their assessed needs.  Upon successful completion of the program, the charges against the offender are either reduced or dropped.  If an offender is unsuccessful, the offender is charged and sentenced.
  • Volunteer Service - Low risk offenders are matched with a community volunteer.  Offenders meet with their volunteer 3 to 5 hours per month and received additional supervision and mentoring.

Domestic Violence - Volunteer in Probation - Targets offenders with first time minimal level domestic charges. Upon assessment for appropriateness offenders voluntarily enroll in the program in which the District Attorney enters a Deferred Entry of Judgment.  Charges are reduced or dropped upon successful completion and discharge from an approved treatment program.

Electronic Monitoring Program - Assessments are completed to ensure that the electronic monitor is given only to low risk inmates to ensure the community's safety.  When an offender is accepted they have various requirements imposed upon them as a condition of the program.  These mandatory conditions include in person check-ins, meeting with a case manager, home visits, regular alcohol and drug testing and participation in educational groups. 

Diversion Program - Targets low-risk, first time offenders.  If offender agrees to successfully complete customized diversion agreements that address offender needs, the offender is afforded the opportunity to avoid criminal charges and/or conviction.  The goal is to address the offender's needs and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.   Deferred prosecution agreements, deferred entry of judgments or  pre-charging agreements are used to specify what is successful completion of the agreement.  Assessments and case planing are provided.  A case manager develops and monitors deferred prosecution and deferred entry of judgment agreements and communicates with the District Attorney's Office as to the offender's progress.

Community Conferencing Program - Operates in the District Attorney's Office.  The program is guided by restorative justice principles focusing on repairing the harm caused by the crime.  Community conferencing involves the victim(s), an offender, a panel of community members and a trained facilitator.  The facilitator guides participants through a discussion about how the offense occurred, the impacts of the offense and how the harm caused can be repaired.  Participants also address how offenders will be held accountable for their actions.  Victims get the opportunity to ask offenders questions about the crimes and to explain to the offender the impacts crime has had on them and other people.  The offender is given the opportunity to accept responsibility for their actions and make amends for harm they have caused. 

OWI Court Program - OWI Court began in January 2011 serving offenders convicted of an OWI 4th to 6th offense who are facing a prison sentence.  The program is sentenced as a condition of probation instead of going to prison and is a replication of the National Drug Court model.  It serves up to 25 participants at a time and lasts a minimum of a year.  Offenders receive intensive counseling, supervision and support from a team of professional within the criminal justice system.  The program focuses on rewarding positive behavior and providing immediate consequences for not following program rules.  This is an evidenced based program that has been very successful in reducing recidivism.   

For more information contact the Justice Alternatives Office 715-261-1191.