Blust heads prison diversion program


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@civitasmedia.com



Stephanie Blust speaks Monday about the local prison diversion program — a program she now directs.


WILMINGTON — There is a new director for the local prison diversion program — a service Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck wants to expand.

Stephanie Blust, who had been a case manager in the Clinton County Community Supervision Program, was promoted Monday to director.

Rudduck said the state of Ohio currently is “vigorously promoting” programs to try to divert people from prison.

“What we want to do is expand this program through transitional housing, maybe residential programs, detox programs. So, we’re just really at the beginning of this in terms of trying to reduce the recidivism [repeat offending by the same person],” said Rudduck.

Of the Clinton County Community Supervision Program, the judge of the local felony court said, “It’s the most intensive out-patient program we have.” At least once per week, program participants meet staffers in person; sometimes, they report in person to staffers daily.

The average period of supervision, Blust said, is six to 12 months. When officials feel participants are complying with the program and there’s less need to monitor them so rigidly, they’re “backed off” to the court’s regular Adult Probation Department staff, said Rudduck.

In a PowerPoint presentation Monday to the Clinton County Local Community Corrections Planning Board, Blust summarized the program as “trying to work with people here in our community [rather than sending them to a state prison].”

According to Rudduck, almost everyone who’s granted an early release from prison is placed into the prison diversion program where there is greater supervision for the person’s re-entry into the community. Also, most attendees of the STAR Community Justice Center are assigned to the prison diversion program.

Prior to working with the Clinton County Community Supervision Program, Blust worked in juvenile probation locally. Rudduck said Blust is capable of writing grants.

Blust replaces Misty Spear as the program director. Spear was promoted to the position a year ago in August 2014.

Rudduck said, “I just felt she [Spear] wasn’t the perfect fit for this position, and I thought we had an extremely qualified and capable person who can take this program into an area where it hasn’t been.”

In a voice vote, 13 members of the Clinton County Local Community Corrections Planning Board approved of Blust.

The Clinton County Community Supervision Program is funded through a grant.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.

Stephanie Blust speaks Monday about the local prison diversion program — a program she now directs.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/08/web1_stephanie_f.jpgStephanie Blust speaks Monday about the local prison diversion program — a program she now directs.

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@civitasmedia.com