Editor, Times-Union:

JCAP is not a great program. JCAP is a generic term that stands for Jail Chemical Addiction Program. Back in 2017/18, many Indiana counties were approached with a state grant to start this program and our prior sheriff accepted the money. At the time, Kosciusko County’s addiction solution was a trifold pamphlet in the jail lobby. The plan was: 1) get money 2)?  

One issue was clear in the prior department - taking money was the easy part, changing the culture and developing a plan was a secondary thought. During 2018, Courtney Jenkins worked tirelessly, for free, to help build and develop the program, she at one time was pointed at and told “she does not belong in this meeting” by the good old boys. Including new minds and resources that were not law enforcement was apparently a foreign concept.

As Dukes campaigned (2018), he sought out the most qualified people in the community and asked them their opinions and listened. Kyle not only brought Courtney and other outsiders to the table, but he also sat them at the head of the table and noted what actions would make JCAP a success. Those actions were implemented immediately, leading to the top JCAP program in Indiana, if not the U.S. Don’t take my word for it, look at who’s come to our jail to observe the success: Indiana attorney general, state congressional members, U.S congressional members, several Indiana sheriffs, Cock County, Tenn., sheriff’s department, etc. And yes, they always give high praise to the jail/JCAP program Sheriff Dukes runs. Again, JCAP programs aren’t inherently great, many will fail or faulter. Kosciusko County JCAP thrives because of Dukes’ understanding of addiction and our great community’s support.

Mr. Smith has a misguided plan for JCAP. 1) Para-militarize it. This will not work. These are not 16-year-old kids going to a scared straight program. These are people who have often suffered the worst kind of abuse imaginable. No need to tear them down, they’ve been there, done that. They go through 6-8 hours of classes a day, how much more structure can they be given? They need empathy, support and opportunity. 2) Having them serve in the community. They already serve 20 hours each working on jail projects such as painting/cleaning etc. Serving the community isn’t a bad idea, it was discussed 2.5 years ago. The problem is, it takes manpower, money and can be a liability for the businesses and county depending on where they may serve. 3) Hire a university to study the success of JCAP. Not needed. This will cost the county thousands of dollars and the equation is simple: number of recidivism cases/number of graduates X 100.

My father always told me “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I’m afraid with Mr. Smith’s misguided judgement, and lack of knowledge on the JCAP program/addiction, our county will be headed back to a trifold pamphlet with a hotline instead of the LIFELINE we have today.

Clint Jenkins

Racine, Wis., via email