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Plans for Additional 30 Specialty Courts to Help in State’s Substance Use Emergency Announced

(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced funding for an additional 30 specialty courts would be included in his budget recommendation for the upcoming 2020-2021 budget biennium.

“Specialty dockets give judges the flexibility necessary when they encounter someone in the court system who is may benefit more from treatment for substance use disorder rather than serving jail time,” said Governor DeWine. “These specialty courts are a proven way to hold those with substance use disorder accountable and ensure participation in mental health and addiction treatment.”

The recommendation, announced during a visit to the Mahoning County Common Pleas Drug Court, overseen by Judge John Durkin, includes $2.5 million in fiscal year 2020 to add 15 specialty dockets and $5.0 million in fiscal year 2021 to support the newly created specialty dockets and fund an additional 15.

Once a person successfully completes a specialized docket program, they are often able to reintegrate back into the workforce without felony conviction or other collateral consequences, reducing their chances of recidivism.

Increasing the number of specialty court dockets in the state is part of the governor’s RecoveryOhio plan to improve prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for those with a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder.