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Common pleas court launches SCORR program

Published: April 15, 2019

AKRON––Summit County Common Pleas Court Administrative Judge Amy Corrigall Jones recently announced the SCORR (Summit County Offender Recidivism Reduction) Program launch on April 1.

The SCORR Program will provide supervision to high risk offenders using swift, certain, and fair (SCF) supervision principles. The SCF model allows for more intense supervision of high-risk offenders through increased court appearances, meetings with their case specialist, and drug testing. The SCF model was developed to reduce recidivism, drug use, and increase compliance with the terms of probation resulting in successful completion of community control.

“There have been many positive changes in our Adult Probation Department over the past year. SCORR, using swift, certain, and fair principles of supervision, has the potential to improve delivery of evidence-based practices and further our mission of providing excellence in community corrections, public safety and public service,” Judge Corrigall Jones stated.

SCORR is being funded by a $599,978 grant from the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. The Innovative Responses to Behavior in the Community: Swift, Fair and Certain Supervision Competitive Grant will provide funding over three years to pilot and implement the SCF Model in Summit County. Summit County was one of three courts to receive this grant funding, along with Macon, Georgia and Yolo, California.

Assistant Court Executive Officer Susan Sweeney identified and applied for the grant as a result of her involvement in the Summit County Adult Probation Department Assessment performed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). “Recognizing the need to improve outcomes in our probation department and understanding that resources are limited, I began researching strategies to supervise probationers more effectively. SCF principles support personal accountability by using positive and negative responses to behavior that have been shown to change the mindset of offenders,” stated Sweeney.

The pilot project will serve 30 high-risk offenders annually. High-risk offenders will be determined through the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS) performed on all offenders. Those who agree to participate will be given a full overview of the program. Those who refuse will be placed in a “probation as usual” group. The success of the two groups will then be compared and analyzed.

The court will partner with the NCSC to provide guidance on designing the program’s policies, procedures, sanction and reward grid, data collection and analysis. The mission of the NCSC is to provide their expertise to improve courts administration and functions of the court.

The court also partnered with NCSC in 2017 to complete an assessment of the Adult Probation Department and an implementation plan to streamline operations and improve probation services. The plan is currently being implemented.

Laura Klaversma, NCSC Court Services Director stated “the NCSC is looking forward to continuing the work in Summit County through evaluation of the new effort of the SCF Supervision Model. The courts focus on improving system outcomes is commendable.”

“We are grateful for the success of our past collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, seen in the positive changes currently occurring in our Adult Probation Department. We look forward to collaborating with NCSC on the SCORR project and building on the improvements we’ve already made,” Judge Corrigall Jones concluded.