Friday News Roundup: September 7, 2018

Friday News Roundup

A veterans treatment court in Arizona gets a $2 million grant, Montgomery County funds public defenders to represent indigent clients, and a nonprofit organization in Virginia spearheads a movement to help incarcerated youth with proactive coping strategies. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. 

Criminal Justice News

Arnold Foundation to Roll Out Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool Nationwide – Criminal justice reform advocates herald pretrial risk assessment tools like the Arnold Foundation’s as a way to fix injustices wrought by the money bail system. Because the money bail method often discriminates against poorer individuals, many advocates say evaluating an individual’s criminal history and likelihood to appear in court through an algorithm is a fairer, more efficient way of determining who gets released pretrial. (Inside Sources, NJ & OH, September 3, 2018)

Opioid News

Fayette County Drug & Alcohol Commission reflects on trends, initiatives amid opioid crisis“We always say the hardest part of getting here is walking through our door,” said Brian Reese, a treatment supervisor at the commission. “Because of that stigma (of addiction), all the guilt and shame, it’s very difficult for a person to come in. But once they’re here, that’s a great thing.” The treatment unit provided outpatient services to 1,598 people between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, a 27 percent jump from the previous fiscal year. (Herald Standard, PA, September 2, 2018)

Drug Treatment Courts

Treatment court offers way out of addictionStaff from state courts, Umatilla County Community Justice Department and Community Counseling Solutions, the court’s treatment provider, teamed up to launch the court this summer after a lack of funding last year ended the local drug court program. Funding comes from a chunk of the $917,000 the county receives from the state’s Justice Reinvestment Act to divert offenders from state prisons. (East Oregonian, OR, September 3, 2018)

Jackson County drug court makes case for proposed statewide expansion – More  than 1,200 people are graduates of Jackson County’s drug treatment court, which has been running for 25 years and will host its 150th graduation this year.  The vast majority of participants stay clean and out of trouble, in turn helping save communities, families, and tax dollars. (Fox 4 News, MO, August 31, 2018)

Potter Co. commissioners talk criminal justice reformThe Potter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) has developed a DUI Treatment Court, Drug Treatment Court and a pilot Pre-Trial Diversion Program to help people stay out of jail by offering substance use disorder treatment and related services. Nearly 75 percent of adults with serious mental illnesses in jail have co-occurring substance use disorders. The Data-Driven Justice Initiative is also being implemented. This national initiative has bipartisan support and is a move to develop more efficient strategies that produce better outcomes through careful data collection and data sharing between counties across the country. (The Bradford Era, PA, August 31, 2018)

Juvenile Justice

Every day counts – Part IIDid you know that students who are unlawfully absent from school or who are habitually truant may be reported to truancy court?  Upon repeat offenses, a warrant may be issued for the parent or guardian’s arrest. Attending school is that serious. In Selma City Schools, a student is considered truant after he or she has more than 4 unexcused absences. (Selma Times-Journal, AL, September 3, 2018)

I’m Just Me Movement: one piece of the puzzle – “Unresolved experiences elicit destructive behaviors contributing to young people falling through the cracks at school or becoming entangled in juvenile court systems. Working with incarcerated youths (Juvenile Detention Center–nearly 300 since November 2017), our goal has been to keep them from further brushes with the law while learning proactive coping strategies. Our programs serve as an alternative to more serious sentencing and may be an option: over 100 youth in the court system currently need JMM services, but at this time, there are no state funds available.” – Tina and Rodney Colbreath, founders of the I’m Just Me (JMM) Movement. (The Winchester Star, VA, September 1, 2018)

Public Defense

Help Wanted: More attorneys needed to represent indigent clients – When there weren’t enough attorneys to represent indigent clients in court, Montgomery County funded a public defenders office this year to help close the gap. The office assigned a trio of full-time attorneys to each court to speak for defendants who cannot afford to hire their own legal counsel. Judges – who had been relying on a shrinking pool of private attorneys for the work – say the dedicated program has made their courtrooms more efficient. (Journal Review, MD, September 4, 2018)

Veterans Treatment Courts

$2 million grant to Tucson Veterans Court offers treatment to those in needA five-year federal grant totaling nearly $2 million has been awarded to Veterans Court, a judicial treatment program for veterans or active-duty personnel who may have substance-abuse and mental-health issues that result in them facing criminal charges. (Arizona Daily Star, AZ, September 4, 2018)

Veterans Court a Possibility for Belmont CountyBelmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato this week met with Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy and other Ohio Judges regarding setting up a Veterans Treatment Court here in Belmont County. Ohio has the sixth-largest veterans’ population in the country, but has only 22 Veterans Treatment Courts despite there being 88 counties. (The Times Leader, OH, September 1, 2018)