In response to Ohio’s heroin and opioid epidemic, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) was given the opportunity to create the Specialized Dockets Subsidy Project to assist drug courts and other specialized dockets with funding to effectively manage addicted offenders in the community; thereby reducing commitments to the state prison system. Specialized dockets that target addicted parent charged with abuse/neglect/dependency of their minor children were also eligible for funding. These programs reduce the number of children who are permanently removed from their homes and, instead, increase the number of children who can remain in their homes with protective supervision provided by child protective services agencies.
The following data illustrates the efficacy of the court projects funded through this initiative. In SFY 16, Ninety-four (94) specialized dockets provided services to over 5,900 adult offenders this funding opportunity. Only 3.5% of the 2,575 adults discharged from these programs were committed to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Along with traditional drug court services, veterans received peer support services and assistance with obtaining Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits. Nearly 10% of the disabled veteran participants who obtained VA benefits were not receiving them prior to admission. In addition, 83% of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experienced symptom improvement. Sixty-two present (62%) of adults and adolescents served by the mental health courts achieved medication compliance. A total of 19 family drug courts served 444 participants. A total of 116 children were re-unified with the 214 parents with child protective service involvement who were discharged from the family drug courts. A total of 365 adolescent offenders were served by 24 specialized dockets operated by juvenile courts. Of the 214-high risk/high need youths discharged, only 4.5% were committed to Ohio Department of Youth Services institutions. All adults and youth participating in criminal specialized dockets, and all parents participating in the family drug courts undergo frequent and random urine/breath analysis. Discharged participants from all specialized dockets produced 88.5% negative results for 105,026 drug tests and 97.4% negative results for 81,335 alcohol tests.
For State Fiscal Year 2018, Ohio MHAS distributed approximately $5 million to specialized dockets that target offenders with drug addiction. A total of 138 specialized dockets received funding through this project; the average award was $35,869. To learn more, email Christopher Nicastro at Christopher.Nicastro@mha.ohio.gov.