Crow Wing County Board supports probation funding overhaul efforts

All 87 county boards were being asked to back the effort led by the Association of Minnesota Counties.

Krista Jones speaks at the podium
Crow Wing County Corrections Manager Krista Jones asks county commissioners Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, to support a resolution asking the Legislature to take action on probation funding in 2023.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch
We are part of The Trust Project.

BRAINERD — County probation departments across Minnesota do not receive the funding promised in state law, and officials hope 2023 is the year that will change.

Crow Wing County Corrections Manager Krista Jones asked the County Board to pass a resolution in support of an updated funding formula during its Tuesday, Dec. 13, meeting. Jones said all 87 county boards were asked to back the effort, led by the Association of Minnesota Counties and a community supervision workgroup assembled to study the needs of departments.

“Last year, we believe we were very close to moving this forward, the closest we have probably ever been,” Jones said. “ … We’re hopeful with the surplus there’s even a better chance and that there will actually be some decisions made this year to move this work forward. It’s long overdue, this formula change. The current formula is extremely complicated and not fair and equitable across the systems.”

More Crow Wing County coverage
The Crow Wing County Board approved the use of ARPA funds for internal needs in March 2022, after which the corrections department received authorization to hire two full-time probation agents.
Crow Wing County maintenance crews will remove snow and fallen and leaning trees, and patch potholes on various county roads throughout the week.
Deb Anderson will retire as the volunteer services supervisor at Essentia Health on Feb. 8, 2023, after more than four decades. She is only the third person at Essentia to have held that position.
Inmates in-custody in the Crow Wing County jail in Brainerd, Minnesota
The Nisswa Fire Department responded to the fire, reported at 1:43 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, in Nisswa.

Jones said the law requires the state government to cover half of the costs of community supervision work completed by counties. In Crow Wing County, however, state funding covers just 41% of the costs, and Jones noted some counties are funded at a rate of 27-28%. As of 2019, community corrections departments in Minnesota supervised the vast majority of all those requiring supervision, or 87%.

“As you know, the county has to pick up what’s left (of the costs) if we want to have that base level of service in order to provide the supervision that’s necessary,” Jones said.


As part of the effort to develop a new funding formula, five Crow Wing County probation agents are participating in a workload study. The Association of Minnesota Counties and the American Probation and Parole Association will use data gathered in the study to create a funding proposal.

According to a 2022 report developed by the Community Supervision Funding Working Group and the Governor’s Council on Justice Reinvestment, Minnesota spent the lowest proportion of state general funds on corrections of any state, but the rate of people under supervision was 11th highest.

“Minnesota was the first state in the country to use sentencing guidelines and, as such, has limited the use of prison by following guidelines that establish a presumption of probation in most cases,” the report stated. “While this has contributed to the state’s low incarceration rate, as of 2020, 1 in every 51 adult Minnesotans were on probation, totaling more than 85,000 people.”

The report calls for a deeper examination of probation delivery, citing a concern about consistency and effectiveness across supervision systems.

“Effective supervision is hindered by a lack of statewide standards for probation, specialized training and quality assurance, community-based risk-reduction programming, housing, and appropriate behavioral health treatment options,” according to the report.

In addition to a new funding formula, Jones said the organization is lobbying the Legislature for a significant one-time appropriation during the upcoming session.

Commissioner Steve Barrows chastised the state for not living up to its promises.

“First of all, they don’t hold themselves to the standard of following the law, which they themselves write, and secondly they’re holding counties more responsible for these probation and oversight activities than they should,” Barrows said. “So they should participate at even a higher level than 50%, at my estimation.”


Commissioners unanimously approved the measure 5-0.

CHELSEY PERKINS, community editor, may be reached at 218-855-5874 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What To Read Next
Area listings of agendas
An area listing of birth announcements.
An area listing of birth announcements.
An area listing of birth announcements.