Login | December 07, 2022

Former Summit Cty. Judge Amy Corrigall Jones discusses new role

Legal News Reporter

Published: September 30, 2022

She spent the last 10 years of her legal career on the bench, now former Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigall Jones has taken on a new role as vice president of behavioral health at Oriana House Inc.
The private nonprofit behavioral health and community corrections agency provides residential and non-residential programs, with locations in Summit, Stark, Cuyahoga, Seneca, Sandusky, Erie, Huron and Washington counties.
“During my time as judge I became familiar with Oriana House and a number of their programs, but I never realized the true extent of their services or their geographical reach,” said Corrigall Jones. “Since starting here I am astounded by how many individuals in the state of Ohio actually benefit from their treatment, services and programming.
“I’ve always been extremely interested in the study of human behavior and had an innate interest as to how policy and government structures work,” she said. “My new role will allow me to explore all these fundamental interests.
“It’s incredibly challenging and I’m so grateful they’ve given me the opportunity to be part of an organization with such a powerful mission,” said Corrigall Jones, who started at Oriana House on Aug. 24.
Bernie Rochford, executive vice president of administration at Oriana House said the organization had been looking for someone to serve as vice president of behavioral health for a little over a year.
“Our agency has expanded its behavioral health services tremendously over the last seven years or so due to the opioid epidemic and the growing number of cases during the pandemic and as a result we needed a dedicated executive level person to oversee those services,” said Rochford. 
“We worked with Amy Corrigall Jones when she was on the bench on a number of issues related to jail capacity and the administration of community corrections and behavioral health services and we were always impressed with her ability to look at things strategically, so after she stepped away from the bench we thought she would be a good fit. 
“We created this executive level position to oversee our behavioral health services from a strategic point of view,” said Rochford. “We have sound clinical practices and we believe Amy will provide the strategic analysis to help us continue those services,” said Rochford. “She’s definitely hit the ground running and we’re very excited to welcome her to our team.”
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Corrigall Jones moved to the United States with her family at age eight.
“My dad played professional football in Canada, but my mother is American so I am what they call a U.S. citizen born abroad,” she said. “We moved to the U.S. after my dad started coaching college football teams.”
In the mid-1980s, they arrived in Akron after her father, Jim Corrigall was hired by Gerry Faust to coach football at The University of Akron.
After graduating from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Corrigall Jones obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kent State University. At the time, her father was the head football coach at the school.
In 2001, she obtained her juris doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law.
That same year, she began her legal career as an associate at Davis & Young, where she handled civil and medical malpractice defense, personal injury and product liability matters.
She then transitioned to the civil defense firm Sutter O’Connell Co., representing clients involved in catastrophic injury cases, before starting her own private practice in 2006.
“I represented individuals in probate court, served as a guardian ad litem for incompetent adults and mentally ill individuals and did some other general practice on the plaintiff’s side,” said Corrigall Jones.
She was appointed to the common pleas court bench in January 2012 by former Gov. John Kasich and was elected to a full six-year term in November of that year.
She was re-elected to a second six-year term in 2018, but on Aug. 5 she stepped down from the bench to explore other opportunities.
“During my tenure as judge, I started the Valor Court in 2013 and the SCORR (Summit County Offender Recidivism Reduction) program in 2019.
“Both are designed to provide treatment and resources to defendants whose involvement with the criminal justice system is related to behavioral health issues or substance use disorder, with the goal of helping reduce recidivism,” said Corrigall Jones.
“I also served as presiding judge in 2016 and was elected by my peers to be administrative judge from 2017 through 2022. During my time as administrative judge, we worked to modernize the General Division Court, started new programs designed to improve access to justice, including but not limited to recovery support at arraignment (ASAP) and other programs such as aftercare for veterans.
“I believe I did my very best within the bounds of the judicial system structure to effectuate change in community supervision and I then reached a crossroads professionally,” said Corrigall Jones. “I became interested in analyzing system structures with an eye towards preventing and reducing individual interaction with the criminal justice system and law enforcement by becoming involved in policy changes.”
When she stepped down, she said she had no idea where she would land but felt compelled to see what else was out there.
“At this stage in my life, I was somewhat hesitant to change my professional path, but I followed my family’s advice, decided to embrace the future and pursue a new professional venture,” said Corrigall Jones. “I worked with my colleagues, my staff and others at the court to make the transition as smooth as possible for the court and the community we serve.”
As vice president of behavioral health, Corrigall Jones will oversee the agency’s substance use
and mental health treatment known as Rigel Recovery Services, which offers assessments;
inpatient detoxification; residential, medication-assisted, outpatient and aftercare treatment for co-occurring disorders, along with anger management, adolescent and mental health services, peer support and educational programming for loved ones about the disease of addiction.
As a judge, Corrigall Jones said she saw firsthand the devastating effects of substance use, behavioral health issues and the opioid epidemic at the local, state and national levels.
“When you encounter folks in the judicial system, more often you meet that person at the end of his or her particular journey. Stepping away from the judiciary enables me to view the entire system through a unique lens and try to create innovative solutions in a different forum.
“With Medicaid being expanded on the state level, we will be able to provide behavioral health services to many who historically did not have access,” said Corrigall Jones. “Gov. DeWine is also looking to expand behavioral health services.
“I’ll be looking at ways to strategize with the subject matter experts, support and enhance operations in existing programs to continue to provide excellent treatment, support and services,” she said.
“It’s an entirely different role for me,” said Corrigall Jones. “As a lawyer I’ve always practiced in the traditional forum, either as an attorney or a judge, but I am always motivated when given opportunities to learn new systems and policies knowing that change is healthy, so I’m incredibly grateful and looking forward to the challenge.”