When Winnebago County asked voters for money to build a new jail, Voters approved a penny tax with one condition.
Some money had to be set aside for alternative treatment programs.
And for the first time today, the County learns how effective those programs have been.
This first study shows offenders ordered to the County's resource intervention center spent less time in jail overall.
And were less likely to be re-arrested.
Improving public safety in Winnebago County.
"I was a skeptic myself when we started all this wondering what the impact was going to be."
That impact appears to be positive for Winnebago County. Between 2007 and 2009 probationers in the Resource Intervention Center considered to be at high or moderate risk of re-offending saw fewer days in jail.
And fewer probationers who participated in the programs were re-arrested.
Deputy Director Delayne Hogan says the center treats the whole person.
"They bring in with them a lot of their street behaviors and they're blaming everybody else."
A judge will order a person to take as many programs as necessary. Such as drug treatment, behavior counseling, and G.E.D. courses. And even in a former jail, the center tries to help people make a change for the better.
"We want people to feel that this is a safe place to be and not jail, because its not jail."
Teal Metcalf says the center changed her life.
"Oh yeah, by far, I've come full circle, since I first started here."
She spent today looking for animal care jobs. Her dream is to take care of horses. She says that wouldn't be possible without the County's efforts.
"I'd probably be kind of stuck, not sure which direction to be able to to go in, I wouldn't be able to put one foot in front of the other and make progress."
Progress Christiansen wants to see.
"All a sudden a tax paying citizen, that maybe they can buy a house, buy a new car, the kinds of things that helps our whole quality of life."
The full report will be posted on the county website for the public to read.
Chairman Christiansen also plans to send it along to lawmakers to point out that things are working in this County.