Several state officials were in the office of the director of the court, Judge William T. Marshall, meeting with the members of the committee on Wednesday.
“I think the most important thing that we need to do is recognize, first and foremost, what a phenomenal program that Judge Marshall has put together in this court,” said Craig Mayton, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. “This grant is about investing in his success that he has already achieved. We hope to help expand upon the great success he has had here. The numbers speak for themselves. I give credit to Karhlton Moore who is director of OCJS (Office of Criminal Justice Services) as the governor has taken a great interest in the pill mills in southern Ohio and has already had an impact on that, in championing House Bill 93. I asked Karhlton where we could make a difference and get results, and he said to look at the drug courts.”
In the five years the Scioto County Drug Court has been in existence, only one graduate has ever re-offended.
“The drug court model and what they have adopted here in Scioto County is a model that, if there is fidelity to it, can produce very good results,” Moore said. “The most important aspect of the model is the people who are involved in it. You can take the perfect model and give it to the wrong folks and it’s not going to matter. The court has invested its resources and the hearts and souls of the members of that court back into those who go through the court to make sure they are successful.”
The drug court is made up totally of volunteers at no cost to taxpayers, and without previous grants to assist with the program. Members of the team, in addition to Marshall, include Tami Martin of the Adult Probation team, Daniel Cassidy, Amanda Adkins and Lisa Wilburn of The Counseling Center, Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor Joe Hale, defense attorneys Mike Mearan and Justin Blume, Portsmouth Police Detective Josh Justice, Scioto County Sheriff’s Capt. John Murphy, and Todd Bryant, a bailiff in Marshall’s court.
Martin said the group will be targeting 10 individuals in drug court who do not have funding to pay for treatment.
“These are people who may fall through the system — people who don’t get any help,” Marshall said. “If we are successful and keep our success rate up, we hope the state will understand what we’re doing, and fund us at an even higher rate. I’d like to make this drug court as big as we can make it, so that someday, this may be all we’re doing, one whole day, is just drug court.”
Martin said the money would also make it possible for members of the drug court to go to training, to pay for drug tests, to pay for a data clerk to keep track of the numbers for the government, and a computer program to make that possible.
One of the volunteers who has worked on the grant is former Marshall’s court bailiff Beverly Pertuset.
“I think the project of the drug court is so worthwhile,” Pertuset said. “And there is a lot of people in this area that need help. And the judge has had the drug court for several years and has never received any outside funding, except for some money for counseling at one point. But there’s a big, big problem here, and we need help.”
Marshall credits the diversity of the members of the drug court with working together to make the program successful.
“One of the good things about having such a diverse team is where I may come in with a different attitude about how I think they ought to be treated,” Justice said. “But Daniel Cassidy, and the prosecutor prosecuting the case and the probation officers, we each change each other’s minds to come to, I feel, the best conclusion for the individual.”
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or email@example.com.