Probations office plans Freedom Week
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Feb 23, 2014 | 830 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Bradley County Misdemeanor Probations Office is planning an amnesty week for violators of the probation program, and those who may not be aware they have warrants issued for their arrest.

For a number of years now, the office has worked to clear misdemeanor violations and allow offenders in the program to work to resolve their cases.

Rich Kienlin, director of the Misdemeanor Office, said publication of more than 1,800 names is being planned for the Banner.

Kienlin, who developed Freedom Week, said it has been successful in helping alleviate a backlog in cases.

The office is continuing to compile names for Freedom Week 2014.

“There are approximately 628 violations outstanding from 2013-2014, and 1,240 violations outstanding from 2003-2013, for a total of 1,868 outstanding misdemeanor warrants from our office,” according to Kienlin.

Kienlin also said some people with warrants issued on them may not know it, and the Banner is a great resource for the information.

“Freedom Week allows an opportunity to the person to start over — reset the payment plan regarding fines or costs so they can get on with their lives and not have to worry about it. We are trying to help those people who may have warrants,” said Gayla Miller, Bradley County court clerk.

Judgments issued by the courts to those placed on misdemeanor probation may include:

- Failure to perform community service.

- Lack of payments on fines, costs, restitution or fees.

- Missed appointments.

- Failure to attend DUI schools.

Kienlin said these are just a few examples where those granted probation reportedly failed to follow guidelines and have had new warrants issued for their arrest.

“The residents of Bradley County understand that most of the misdemeanor cases are nonviolent, and there is not a tremendous need to hold misdemeanor violators in the local jail — that bed space needs to be used for the convicted felons and more violent offenders in our community,” Kienlin explained.

“During Freedom Week, we try to persuade probationers to contact the probation office to work out an agreement that for a portion of the cash bond being paid, we can recall the warrant and get that individual back in compliance. We look to this as an avenue to unload paperwork and supervise the less-than-cooperative.

“We understand that it is a team effort among Probation, General Sessions Court, and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office to work out these warrant recalls, and we appreciate the cooperative spirit.

“We understand the frustration that law enforcement and victims see as an easy pass, but everyone should understand that we must embrace new ways of thinking and working things out (with the probationer) in order to make any progress in supervision,” Kienlin said.

For additional information, contact the Bradley County Misdemeanor Probation office at 728-7121. Officials are planning a March 16 publication date.