Allen County court receives state certification

LIMA — The drug and mental health courts of the Allen County Common Pleas Court recently earned final certification from the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Specialized Dockets.

Courts with specialized dockets address specific treatment needs of people whose charges fall into many different categories, such as drug and alcohol addiction; mental health; domestic violence; human trafficking; and veterans issues. The courts focus on offender accountability, behavior change and recovery. There are 258 certified dockets in Ohio courts.

To receive the certification, the court had to submit an application; undergo a visit and report on its practices; and provide program materials in response to certification standards that went into effect in January 2014. Other certification requirements included establishing eligibility requirements; evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket; and assembling a treatment team to implement daily operations of the specialized docket. The team is headed by the specialized docket judge and can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and more.

“Specialized dockets offer an alternative to incarceration, and reflect a community’s belief in second chances,” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy said in a press release. “They focus on people who are willing to work to overcome the personal challenges that led to their involvement in the justice system. The court and community partners work together to supervise treatment, training, and support, providing local solutions to local problems under leadership of the local court.”