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Reclaim Ohio

RECLAIM Ohio (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternative to Incarceration of Minors) is an initiative developed in 1993 by the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) to address the continuing problems of an overburdened juvenile justice system.

RECLAIM Ohio attempts to address:

  • The number of felony and misdemeanant level delinquents.
  • The severity of the crimes committed and
  • The cost of care and custody of juvenile delinquents.
  • To reclaim the lives of these young offenders through community-based rehabilitative programming.

RECLAIM Ohio provides a monthly allocation of funds from DYS to the Court to address the needs of juvenile offenders who are most at-risk of being permanently committed to DYS. From this fund, the County is charged $111.00 each day a youth is committed to DYS. At the end of each month, any remaining dollars are returned to the County for services to felony offenders.

With the funds received from this initiative, the following programs are funded in Erie County : African American Alternative Center, Intensive Probation, Electronic Monitoring, Out of Home Placement, Mental Health/Counseling (Jesse Program) and the Family Preservation Program (MST).

The Court contracts with the African American Alternative Center to provide day treatment services for targeted youth, primarily felony level youth. Tutoring services, cultural awareness, skill building and parenting classes are some of the programs offered by this non-profit agency. The Center is open 1:00 pm. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays.

The Mental Health/Counseling Program (Jesse Program) is a family crisis intervention diversion program developed by Erie County Juvenile Court , Psychological Associates, and the Sandusky Police Department to prevent children and their families from entering into the Court system. When a parent or guardian contacts a police department within the county to file an incorrigible charge on their child, and also desires that the child be removed from the home, the police department will contact the on-call Jesse counselor to intervene immediately with the situation. The Jesse counselor responds by going to the police station to discuss the Jesse Program with the parents and child. The family is informed that there will be six to seven family counseling sessions to help them deal with the issues that initiated the crisis.

Through Intensive Probation, felony youth are provided treatment and monitoring services during non-traditional evening and weekend hours. Youth can also be placed on electronic monitoring by the Judge or Magistrate rather than remaining in the Detention Center pending adjudication. The youth is equipped with an ankle bracelet and a transmitter is attached to their home telephone. 

Through the Out of Home Placement Program, the Court very carefully screens any youth who might need substitute care placement. Several factors are examined before an out of home placement is made. Some of the issues considered are: previous attempts at rehabilitation, risk to the community, funding and feasibility of locating a suitable placement. The court's Probation Department thoroughly studies these factors and other issues pertinent to the case at hand before making a decision. If a decision is made that private placement is the best course of action, then the Probation Counselor and the Erie County Department of Job and Family Services is responsible for locating a suitable out of home placement.

Family Preservation/Home Based Services is a program using Multisystemic Therapy (MST) and was designed to provide communities with affordable and effective remedies for serious, violent and chronic juvenile offenders. The goal of the Family Preservation Program is to strengthen parents and stabilize youth by reducing youth criminal activity, substance abuse and antisocial behavior through an integrative, cost effective, family-based treatment. Stabilized families are productive families. Juvenile Probation Counselors will refer young people to the treatment program. Masters prepared therapist will work in the family's home for three to five months to meet three primary goals. The primary goals of MST treatment are to: eliminate or greatly reduce the frequency and severity of the youth's referral behavior (reduce criminal activity); empower parents with the skills and resources needed to independently address the inevitable difficulties that arise in raising children and adolescents and to empower youth to cope with family, peer, school and neighborhood problems; achieve these outcomes at a cost savings by decreasing rates of incarceration and out of home placements.