Ottawa Mayor to sign support letter for court grant

By Bryan Reynolds -

OTTAWA — Council unanimously voted to approve Mayor Dean Meyer adding his signature to a letter of support for a Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison (T-CAP) grant application during the village council meeting Monday.

Putnam Court of Common Pleas Judge Keith Schierloh presented council with the plan for how the $75,000 T-CAP grant would be utilized in Putnam County should it be approved. The plan would include a joint effort between the court, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Pathways Counseling Center and the Putnam County ADAMHS Board. Pathways and the ADAMHS Board are applying for a joint $65,000 grant that would be used added to the T-CAP grant, Schierloh said.

The two grants would be used to set up a pre-sentencing program for individuals charged with non-violent, non-sexual fifth-degree felony crimes awaiting sentencing from the Common Pleas Court — mostly major drug possession and use charges, Schierloh said. While out on bond and awaiting sentencing, which can take as long as five to seven months, these defendants can start using drugs again. The T-CAP program would be used to rent equipment to use for mandatory drug testing ordered by the court. The court, with the assistance of the sheriff’s office, would also set up a pre-sentencing parole program so these individuals had someone to assist with job searches or job retention while ensuring parolees stay away from drugs.

The grant would also be used to help defendants awaiting sentencing get medical and mental health treatments if needed, Schierloh said.

“We want to make these defendants accountable for what they’re doing,” he said. “The only way to make them do that is by giving them a bunch of hoops to jump through.”

Schierloh said using the T-CAP grant to set up a plan like this for the county makes sense because it comes at no cost. The grant covers the cost of equipment, salaries and time.

By Bryan Reynolds

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.

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