(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced the launch of a new program aimed at helping local courts more efficiently process increasing numbers of court cases.
The Office of Criminal Justice Services, which is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, began accepting applications for the new Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program today. A total of $10 million in funding is available to help courts reduce the time-to-disposition of pending cases, remove barriers to the timely resolution of cases, and apply creative solutions to improve case flow.
"This new grant program is part of Ohio's comprehensive approach toward supporting every aspect of our criminal justice system," said Governor DeWine. "Court caseloads are increasing as local law enforcement works aggressively to hold criminals accountable, and we want to help our courts handle current backlogs and prevent future case accumulations."
Eligible recipients for one- or two-year projects that can be back-dated to April 1 include:
- Municipal or county courts.
- Common pleas, domestic relations, general, juvenile, or probate courts.
- Appellate courts.
Projects that may be eligible for funding include but are not limited to pre-trial triage programs, virtual competency assessment teams, and technology programs to simplify bench warrant processing. Grants can also be used to recruit court staff, fill vacancies, or resume positions that had been eliminated due to the pandemic.
A voluntary bidders training webinar will take place July 11 at 10 a.m. to provide information helpful for both the application preparation and review process. Please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7847932892469866256 to complete the registration. The deadline to submit an RFP is July 29 at 5 p.m.
The Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program is funded as part of the $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly dedicated to first responders last year to help counter various pressing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increases in violent crime and decreases in staffing levels in criminal justice fields.
Other assistance for first responders developed by Governor DeWine since taking office in 2019 include the creation of the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, Ohio School Safety Center, Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness, Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative, Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program, Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program, and Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program.