Gov. DeWine proposes funding for more drug courts

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants to create more specialty courts across the state to help rehabilitate drug addicts.

The governor announced funding Tuesday for an additional 30 specialty courts.

He made the announcement at the Mahoning County Common Pleas Drug Court, calling the state's current situation at substance use emergency.

"Specialty dockets give judges the flexibility necessary when they encounter someone in the court system who is may benefit more from treatment for substance use disorder rather than serving jail time," said Governor DeWine. "These specialty courts are a proven way to hold those with substance use disorder accountable and ensure participation in mental health and addiction treatment."

As part of his upcoming budget proposal, DeWine recommends $2.5 million in funding for the courts in fiscal year 2020. That would allow for 15 specialty dockets. Then in fiscal year 2021, he recommends $5 million in funding to support the original 15 dockets plus an additional 15, totaling 30.

"Once a person successfully completes a specialized docket program, they are often able to reintegrate back into the workforce without felony conviction or other collateral consequences, reducing their chances of recidivism," the press release states.

Adding more specialty court dockets is part of DeWine's RecoveryOhio plan, "to improve prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for those with a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder."