Kosciusko Youth Leadership Academy students recently had the opportunity to learn more about the county’s judicial and criminal justice system from professionals of both the court and law enforcement fields.

Students met at the Kosciusko County Courthouse and were welcomed by Superior Court I Judge David Cates. Cates, who began his term Jan. 1, 2015, shared with students the inner workings of the court system and explained to students how the county’s judicial system is structured while providing details about the various challenges in trying offenders.

In addition to hearing from Cates, students learned about the community corrections program from Anna Bailey, director of community corrections. Bailey was joined by administrative assistant Taylor Pagan to demonstrate the technology and equipment used by the department for corrective programs such as house arrest and rehabilitation programs.

Bailey said the department works closely with both law enforcement and local service agencies such as the Bowen Center, Serenity House, McArthur Counseling Center and the Kosciusko County Probation Office.

Students also learned about the judicial circuits from Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton. Hampton shared how his role works alongside local law enforcement and court systems and how his role doubles as chief police officer of Kosciusko County.

According to Hampton, though his work spans a wide variety of issues, a key component of his job is providing legal advice to local police officers. He also explained his role in local rehabilitation efforts such as drug court as well as his work with child support cases throughout the county. Hampton shared real experiences and anecdotes with students about the challenges and reward of working in the law enforcement field, along with Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Chris Francis.

Following the guest lectures, students were given a tour of the underground tunnel system connecting the two court houses, as well as areas of the Kosciusko County Jail, court rooms, offices and 911 call center.