Frustrated by the high number of ex-offenders who returned to the same circumstances that led their incarceration, Lake County Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez decided to change the status quo by launching the Community Transition Court of Lake County. He credits his team for this program, including Judy Love (left), coordinator. One of eight problem-solving courts in Indiana, this court is unique in that it modifies the individual Department of Corrections placement of the individual 8 to 12 months prior to his or her earliest possible release. While this doesn’t alter the length of incarceration, it modifies their placement, meaning if they successfully complete the program, they can be discharged from parole. “This is a huge incentive for those who work hard to get through this program,” Judge Vasquez said, now in his 12th year. While the national rate for recidivism approaches 75%, the rate for this program has dropped to 24% in which participants are strictly monitored and engaged in a process to transition back into community and family life. In the early phase, participants meet weekly in court with Judge Vazquez to review their progress. Individuals enter into a initial work release phase in which they receive counseling and assistance with finding a job, and even help with licensing issues to drive again. Since launched over three years ago, hundreds have participated and slightly over 50% have successfully completed this process! All are eligible except those cases involving children.