Summit County, Ohio: Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien’s Reentry Court has earned recertification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets. Reentry court is designed to help citizens successfully reenter society following incarceration, thereby reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and saving money.
“Our mission is to improve safety and quality of life by enabling individuals returning from incarceration to be self-sufficient, crime-free, productive citizens and neighbors,” explained Judge O’Brien.
Recertification by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets is essential to continuing Judge O’Brien’s work in helping individuals coming out of the prison system lead a better life.
O’Brien has presided over her Reentry Court since August 2016 and was awarded recertification in March.
In order to receive re-certification, Judge O’Brien’s Reentry Court had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went in to effect in January 2014.
“The goals of my Reentry Program are pretty straightforward; remain law-abiding, sober, and pursue work or education,” O’Brien explained.
“We come to know the challenges our participants face with regard to employment, housing, treatment and their physical and mental health,” continued O’Brien. “A primary focus of the Reentry Court is to remove or reduce barriers to successful reentry, so that motivated individuals – who have served their time and paid their debt to society – are able to compete for a job, attain stable housing, support their children and their families, and contribute to their communities. The Reentry Court team works to provide the direction, assistance and support to help participants successfully reintegrate into society,” stated O’Brien.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor congratulated the Reentry Court and Judge O’Brien for receiving re-certification.
“Specialized dockets divert offenders toward criminal justice initiatives that employ tools and tailored services to treat and rehabilitate the offender so they can become productive members of society,” said Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars.”
Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. The standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio, and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources.
“Our efforts help formerly incarcerated individuals and are good for the community as a whole. I am excited to continue my involvement in the Reentry Court Program, which has been shown to reduce recidivism and assist participants with successful reintegration into our community,” concluded O’Brien.
Contact: Susan Sweeney, Assistant Court Executive Officer