Court is certified as drug recovery docket

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Second Chance Drug Court Recovery program of the Ironton Municipal Court has earned its final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s commission on specialized dockets.

Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of crimes or offenders and it uses a combination of techniques for both holding offenders accountable and addressing the underlying causes of their behaviors.

Those who are considered for the docket are low-level offenders with no history of violence.

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Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor congratulated both Judge Kevin Waldo and the Ironton Municipal Court for getting the final certification.

“Specialized dockets divert offenders toward criminal justice initiatives that employ tools and tailored services to treat and rehabilitate the offender so they can become productive members of society,” she said. “Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars.”

Waldo said that he was thrilled that the Ohio Supreme Court had renewed the Ironton Municipal Court as a specialized docket for another three years.

“This certification provides our Drug Court the opportunity to continue to help qualified defendants with their battle to overcome drug/alcohol addiction and to allow the defendant a treatment plan that will assist them in living out their best life without drug and/or alcohol dependency,” he said.

There are 210 specialized dockets across Ohio that deal with issues such as drugs and alcohol, mental health and domestic violence.

To be certified, a court has to establish eligibility requirements, evaluate effectiveness of the specialized docket and assemble a treatment team to implement the daily operations of the specialized docket. That team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel and is headed up by the judge.

The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who make all decisions regarding certifications.

The group advises the Ohio Supreme Court and its staff on the promotion of statewide rules, and uniform standards for the specialized dockets, the development of standards and the creation of training programs for the judges and court personnel.

The Ironton Municipal Court got its initial certification as a specialized docket drug court in 2019.

He said at the time that a city drug court was important to have since much of the criminal activity in the region is related to drug use. He estimated that 90 percent of cases in Ironton were drug related in some way.

Another goal of the docket is to not only lessen crime, but to put families back together.