MANSFIELD — City Council on Tuesday evening is expected to accept a $200,000 grant to help Mansfield Municipal Court operate its specialty courts.

The specialized docket funding comes from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services through the Richland County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board.

The annual grant will be used for personnel costs in four specialty courts — Domestic Violence Court, Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Court, according to legislation on council’s agenda.

The grant pays a portion of the salaries and benefits for probation officers associated with the specialty courts. There is no local match for the grant, which covers July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.

Specialized dockets are courts dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. 

Mansfield Municipal Court judges Jerry Ault and Frank Ardis launched these specialty courts more than a decade ago.

The judges have said the specialty courts are designed to reduce recidivism and costs associated with incarceration, while protecting the public and modifying the criminal behavior of the offender.

For example, the Veterans Court is a voluntary program providing intense supervision of offenders that involves regularly scheduled review hearings with the judge, home visits, curfew checks, drug and alcohol testing and increased communication with the treatment providers.

The Veterans Court program for military veterans requires at least one year of supervision and treatment, which is organized into four phases, corresponding to individual development.

Two other separate, annual grants totaling $26,366 from the same funding sources are also scheduled to be accepted to assist the specialty courts with support services and administrative costs.

Also on Tuesday, City Council is scheduled to:

— vote on a resolution in support of the city’s Office of Community Development’s Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report for program year 2022 — which covered July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

— vote on annual legislation to accept amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorize/certify the necessary tax levies to the Richland County auditor.

— vote to accept the Richland Public Health donation of 10 picnic tables, two ADA picnic tables, five outdoor trash cans and one outdoor water bottle filling station with a dog bowl. The equipment will be installed at various city parks, including Liberty, Central and Fox Glen.

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