The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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September 18, 2013

Greenbrier Day Report Center earns statewide recognition

Long touted as a model community-based correctional program in the local region, the Greenbrier Day Report Center recently earned statewide recognition, receiving the Gaughan Award for Excellence.

“I think we’ve got the best day report in the state,” Greenbrier County Commission President Karen Lobban said at a meeting last week during which commissioners presented day report staff with a plaque commemorating the award.

Named in honor of First District Circuit Court Judge Martin J. Gaughan, who is hailed as one of the founders of community corrections in West Virginia, the award for excellence is presented annually to an outstanding day report center by the state Community Corrections Subcommittee and the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.

The Greenbrier Day Report Center (GDRC) continues to grow, earlier this year moving into substantially larger quarters in order to accommodate client programming needs.

“We now have room to be able to expand our group and individual counseling,” director Laura Legg told The Register-Herald, noting the current center occupies a building measuring around 7,000 square feet, double the size of day report’s previous home.

The GDRC serves approximately 300 clients as of last count, Legg said. That number is up from 235 just three months ago.

Serving clients who have been ordered into the program by judges, magistrates, the Bureau of Prisons and Department of Corrections or on referral from the prosecuting attorney, the GDRC’s programming is more stringent than regular probation or home incarceration supervision. The center’s goal is to help clients make a successful transition from offender to productive citizen.

Among the GDRC’s 14 staff members are a full-time substance abuse treatment facilitator, a licensed psychologist and a contract therapist.

Legg is particularly proud of the center’s newest program, introducing clients to working in horticulture through development of a community garden.

“It gives them a chance to learn something different,” Legg said.

Some 2,000 vegetable and fruit plants were planted, tended and harvested by clients this summer, with a few crops yet to reach maturation. Following the harvest, clients also helped deliver the produce to nonprofit organizations like the Children’s Home Shelter, Hope Haven in Quinwood, the Woodland Community Center in northern Greenbrier County, the Rupert Food Pantry and the Greenbrier Committee on Aging’s Fairlea Senior Center, as well as senior apartment complexes Morgan Manor and Lewisburg Manor.

“That’s the part they enjoyed the most — making the deliveries,” Legg said. “The people were so excited and appreciative to get the food. It’s truly amazing the sense (the center’s clients) get from giving back to the community and paying it forward.”

Donated thus far from the GDRC’s community garden were 350 head of cabbage, 40 bushels of tomatoes, six bushels of green beans, five bushels of squash, four bushels of green peppers, two bushels of potatoes and one bushel each of cucumbers and corn. Some of the potatoes remain to be harvested, along with pumpkins, watermelons and gourds.

“I’d say 50 of our clients have actively worked on this project and have gone through the whole program, from planting the seeds to weeding, hoeing, harvesting and distributing,” Legg said. “They worked hard, and it’s good community PR for the program.”

With the measurable success of the adult day report center, Greenbrier County is now turning its attention toward the possibility of opening a youth reporting center, Legg said.

“Greenbrier County is trying to continue to build on what we have accomplished and move forward,” she said. “The youth reporting center will operate under the same concept as the day report center but will be for juveniles.”

Legg added, “Early intervention is so important. There is an obvious need for a youth program and, if it’s also successful, it might mean there is less of a burden on the adult day report program in the future.”

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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