GOSHEN — An interim director has been named for Elkhart County Community Corrections after the current head of the program was placed on leave.
Randy Cripe was named interim director under an employment agreement the Elkhart County Commissioners approved Monday. The Community Corrections Advisory Board recently placed Director James Thompson on administrative leave.
Cripe is the law enforcement accreditation manager with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office. He has previously acted as director of the department’s work release program.
County officials were limited on what they could say about the action against Thompson, on the advice of county legal counsel. Commissioners described the reason as “performance related.”
County Administrator Jeff Taylor said the advisory board discussed it in an executive session and then took action after reconvening.
He clarified that Thompson has not been suspended or terminated, but said the advisory board will discuss potential disciplinary action at a future hearing. He said more information will be made available after that.
The commissioners have been taking a closer look this year at the community corrections program, which provides supervision and alternative sentencing for felony and misdemeanor offenders. In February, the commissioners and advisory board announced that they were “evaluating every aspect of work release” following the death of 36-year-old Laminika Dockery after she suffered a medical emergency while at the work release facility in July 2018.
Taylor said Monday that he couldn’t comment on whether Thompson’s leave was related to the woman’s death.
This past July, commissioners approved a contract with consulting firm Baker Tilly for help in an operational and financial assessment of the community corrections program. Among other things, Taylor told the commissioners it would evaluate the fees that offenders are charged for program services.