The Clermont County Municipal Court Adult Probation Department was presented with the 2013 Clifford Skeen Award for excellence in community correction programing Thursday, Oct. 10.
The award was accepted by Clermont County Judge Kevin Miles during The Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Correction’s 27th Annual Conference, in Columbus, Ohio.
The conference theme this year was “Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery,” a plight Clermont County proudly feels they are leading the charge for change within the State of Ohio.
The Adult Probation Department was awarded for striving to create effective evidence-based tools that provide judges with alternatives to sentencing. In his acceptance speech, Judge Kevin T. Miles, commended the dedication of the county’s criminal justice system and the innovation of the Clermont County Municipal Court Adult Probation Department staff.
“Clermont County is taking a systems approach to reducing recidivism and using alternative means of incarceration. This multi-faceted approach could not work without the combined efforts of judges, probation officers, the Clermont County Commissioners, prosecutors, public defender and others in within the court system, in particular those from our Adult Probation Department,” said Judge Miles.
The evidence-based techniques and alternatives to incarceration for misdemeanor offenders include supervision options available to judges such as regular reporting, Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP), dual-diagnosis caseloads and an OVI Court caseload. Through these practices, offenders are assessed for level of supervision using the Ohio Risk Assessment System and Women’s Risk Needs Assessment.
To address the growing female offender population and their specific needs, a female ISP officer position was created by shifting existing departmental resources. Referrals for the recidivism reduction program experienced a 27 percent increase; reducing the percentage of unsuccessful terminations by 17 percent compared to statistic from the 2012 fiscal year. Municipal Court judges in Clermont County can also order offenders to complete community service as a sanction or in lieu of jail.
During fiscal year 2013, the community work service program, saw an increase of 11 percent in the number of successful completions compared to 2012 fiscal year.
In 2011, a day treatment program was developed also help reduce the amount of repeat offenders. The program is staffed and facilitated by the ISP officers and the Clermont Recovery Center.
The day treatment program operates 5 days a week and provides 6 hours of programming a day. Services include medically assisted treatment using Suboxone and vocational services funded by the Rehabilitation Services Commission, the Horizons Project, which is sponsored by the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
Only offenders placed on ISP are eligible to participate, and an ISP officer delivers a corrective thinking component using the Truthought LLC “Charting a New Course” curriculum.
The department also collaborates with the Common Pleas Adult Probation Department to run a jail program that utilizes the T4C curriculum in an effort to reduce jail sentences and prison incarcerations with a focus on reentry.
“We are extremely proud of the high quality and volume of work that our probation department delivers. This award recognizes their efforts in the implementation of innovative practices such as day treatment which reduce recidivism and control costs,” said Municipal Court Administrative Judge Anthony W. Brock. The citizens of Clermont County are well served by the Municipal Court Adult Probation Department.”
The Clermont County Community Alternative Sentencing Center (CASC) program for female misdemeanor offenders opened on Aug. 12, 2013. The program is operated by Talbert House and utilizes an unused portion of the Clermont County Jail. This is the county’s most recent initiative to address the complications associated with repeat offenders who commit non-violent crimes due to substance abuse.
“As commissioners, we are proud of the system approach to reducing recidivism and promoting recovery. It takes a team work effort of all involved in the process to create, find and apply the evidence-based processes that produce positive results. We are proud of the Clermont County team and their work,” commission Ed Humphrey said.
The Clifford Skeen Award is given in honor of the late, eight-term Ohio Representative, Clifford Skeen. Skeen sponsored the Community Correction Act passed by the Ohio Legislature in 1979 with the purpose of reducing the number of non-dangerous offenders being sent to state prisons. The award recognizes agencies for excellence and innovation in providing community corrections.