Municipal Court receives Justice Reinvestment and Incentive Grant



SIDNEY _ The year 2018 was another busy year for the Sidney Municipal Court.

“The court was awarded an allocation of $335,000 in Justice Reinvestment and Incentive Grant (JRIG) funds from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and implemented several new programs and services with the grant,” said Judge Duane A. Goettemoeller. “The court also processed a significant increase in caseload and experienced several staff changes and additions.

His report continues:

The JRIG grant allowed the court to implement a new Pretrial Release Program to identify defendants who are appropriate for pretrial release from jail on bond. The goal of the Program is to reduce or eliminate the time the offender has to spend in jail by changing their behaviors. In 2018, the Pretrial Services Officer conducted 319 interviews.

It has been our goal to commit fewer offenders to jail by offering more referrals to community partners for programming and also by offering programming in house. With our new programs we were able to decrease our commitments to jail from nearly 300 in prior years to 187 in 2018. In place of jail, 139 people were placed in counseling and treatment programs such as alcohol and drug, anger management and parenting classes. To assist in the community’s fight against the opioid epidemic, we referred 76 offenders to the Medically Assisted Treatment Program (Vivitrol Program).

The Probation Department expanded services offered to include the Thinking for a Change (T4C) and Whole Health Action Management (Wham) Programs. T4C is an integrated cognitive behavioral change program that incorporates research from cognitive restructuring theory, social skills development, and problem solving skills and WHAM is a peer support group model facilitated at the Shelby County jail that encourages resiliency, wellness, and self-management of health and behavioral health among offenders with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

From 2017 to 2018, the court’s caseload increased from 7,482 cases to 8,795 cases. In 2018, the Probation Department performed 1,428 drug tests, conducted 188 presentence investigations, and had 1,472 active probationers. The bailiffs served 960 papers, transported 1,194 prisoners, and the Court held video arraignment for two prisoners.

During 2018, 185 individuals entered the License Intervention Program. The court had a 63 percent successful completion rate which resulted in another 104 valid and properly insured drivers on the roads.

In 2018, $2,434,523 was collected in receipts. In addition $10,188 was provided by offenders to the City and County through the Court’s Community Service Program. This program allows those who qualify to account for their fines and costs even when they do not earn sufficient income to pay what they owe by performing community service to local organizations and non-profit agencies.

The Court distributed $20,815 in restitution to victims of crime and distributed garnishment monies in the amount of $987,841 to various creditors.

The court hired three employees to fill new positions created under the JRIG grant: Michelle Chamberlain as a pretrial services officer, Cassandra Noe as a peer support specialist, and Melissa Thompson as a clerical aide to support the Probation Department. Melissa was later promoted from clerical aide to deputy clerk and Jamie Arnold was hired to take over the clerical aide position. The court also hired three employees to fill existing positions: Scott Hoelscher as a probation officer, Jordan Guillozet as a deputy bailiff, and Jordan Price as a deputy bailiff. The court promoted two individuals to new positions: Melissa Harmon from probation officer to chief probation officer and Lindsey Byers from probation officer to chief bailiff. Lastly, as part of the Court’s Administration Succession Plan, the Court hired Anthony Kremer to fill the position of assistant court administrator.