Two places proposed for probation center

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

View Possible locations for a Day Reporting Center in Albany in a larger map

ALBANY, Ga. -- City of Albany staff members have provided commissioners with two possible locations for a state-run rehabilitation center for drug-addicted probationers as a lengthy negotiation process between the state and Albany-Dougherty County appears to be nearing its end.

For more than six months, local government officials have been talking with the Georgia Department of Corrections' Probation Division about providing the center in Albany.

Day Reporting Centers are billed as a sentencing option for repeat low-risk offenders who find themselves repeatedly violating the terms of their probation due to a struggle with drugs and alcohol.

GADOC has agreed to fund the utilities and operations of the facility, if the city can provide a building.

Tuesday, city staff will officially present the commission with two possible locations for the center.

The first, 816 W. Broad Ave., is a warehouse and office space with 15,625 total square feet. That facility comes at a cost of $3,500 per month to rent.

The second facility is the building most readily recognized as the "Key's Group Building" at 407 S. Slappey Blvd. It is a two-story building with roughly 6,100 square feet of space.

The proposed rental price of that building is just over $5,600 per month, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said.

"We needed to find a building with at least 6,000 square feet of space to meet the request of the state and this is what we got when we sent out the request for information," Smith said. "These buildings meet their requirements and have transit stops in close proximity."

Having a Day Reporting Center in Albany has been pushed by local judges and has been taken up as a part of Albany Mayor Willie Adams' chief priorities for 2011.

The head of GADOC's Probation Division told both the Dougherty County Commission and the Albany City Commission that the state is interested in putting a Day Reporting Center in the area, but that budget cuts had hampered its ability to simply buy a building in Albany. Instead, the state was looking at using an existing facility near Lee State Prison in Lee County -- but that option left concerns among local officials after GADOC authorities said that a facility in Lee County, which is in another judicial circuit, would have to be open to everyone from its judicial circuit, with little room for Albany probationers.

Conversely, if the facility is in Albany, nearly all of the 100-plus spots for probationers could be dedicated to those from Albany and Dougherty County, since Dougherty County is a single-county judicial circuit.

GADOC officials bill the program as one that helps lower costs to both the state and county governments by reducing recidivism to state prisons and local jails, while freeing up cells for more violent offenders.