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Summit County judge receives certification

From Staff Reports Published: December 21, 2016 12:00 AM
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Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands' Reentry Court has earned final re-certification from the Ohio Supreme Court's Commission on Specialized Dockets.Reentry programs and reentry courts are designed to help citizens successfully reenter society following their incarceration, thereby reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and saving money.

"My specialized docket is designed to combine close supervision with services to help ex-offenders become law-abiding citizens, gain long-term employment, and maintain stable residence," said Judge Rowlands.

"A primary focus of our reentry efforts 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. Our efforts help formerly incarcerated individuals and are good for the community as a whole," Rowlands said.

Judge Rowlands has been supervising a Reentry Court since January 2013. She gained her original Supreme Court certification in November 2014.

To receive the re-certification, Judge Rowlands' Reentry Court had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards.

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Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor congratulated the Reentry Court and Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands for receiving final 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 O'Connor. "Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars."

The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket.

The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who advise the Supreme Court and its staff regarding the promotion of statewide rules and uniform standards concerning specialized dockets in Ohio courts; the development and delivery of specialized docket services to Ohio courts; and the creation of training programs for judges and court personnel.

The commission makes all decisions regarding final certification.

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