The Ohio State Bar Association announced the winner of the Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee Innovative Court Practices Award. The purpose of this award is to bring greater visibility to exemplary programs in Ohio’s courts and facilitate the transfer of those programs to other courts in the state.
The winner is the Toledo Municipal Court Probation Department Technology Initiative. The award was presented Sept. 8 at the annual meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference in Columbus and was accepted by Toledo Municipal Court Presiding Judge Michael R. Goulding.
The Toledo Municipal Court developed and implemented two offender supervision programs—the Kiosk program and the Online Alternatives program—that have reduced the cost of supervising offenders, increased the probability that the offender will continue to live crime-free and streamlined the procedure offenders must follow to successfully complete probation. These programs leverage the use of technology to enable two probation officers to provide the functional equivalent of supervision and service of four probation officers.
The Kiosk program permits low-risk, non-violent offenders to use a kiosk for reporting, identity confirmation and collecting information from the offender related to the conditions of probation supervision.
The Online Alternatives program allows non-violent, low-risk, first-time offenders, often young people working or going to school, to complete an on-demand online educational course to assist them in making better personal choices and staying out of trouble.
The following criteria were considered in evaluating entries: newness, creativity, effectiveness, transferability to other court applications and does the program address significant issues or problems which are regional in scope.
“These are shining examples of real-world changes in one court system that serve the needs of the courts, the offenders and are in the best interest of the community,” said OSBA President Carol Seubert Marx. “Justice Robert Cupp chairs the OSBA’s Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee and suggested the creation of this award as a way of recognizing innovation in Ohio’s court system.”