A cell door at the Monroe County Correctional Center. LAURA LANE/BLOOMINGTON HERALD-TIMES
A cell door at the Monroe County Correctional Center. LAURA LANE/BLOOMINGTON HERALD-TIMES
The dive into recidivism often starts small, with a failed drug test, a missed probation officer visit, a misdemeanor arrest. Sometimes, it’s being absent from court hearings or violating a judge’s order.

These screw-ups generate arrest warrants that bring defendants back to the county jail, where they usually sit in a cellblock unable to get out until they appear before a judge to explain themselves. That can happen the next day, but if a person gets picked up on a Friday, court’s not until Monday afternoon.

The days can add up. Judges have options that depend on the severity of the violation and the case. They can chastise the defendant and send them on their way, order treatment or set a bond. They might revoke all or a portion of a previously suspended jail sentence.

In 2019, probation violations were the fourth highest offense against people incarcerated at the Monroe County Correctional Center. First on the list, according to the jail’s 2019 annual report, was driving while intoxicated, followed by placement violations and failure to appear in court.

Robert Ratts: father, felon, aspiring rap musician, recidivist. He’s all of these things.
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