The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Drug Court presided over by Judge Kelly A. Gallagher has earned a three-year certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets.
In order to receive the certification, the Drug Court had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards. The certification is valid through December of 2025.
“Leading the Drug Court docket is an emotional and rewarding experience,” says Judge Gallagher. “This certification was earned by our entire team of coordinators, clinicians, probation officers, and attorneys. There is no doubt that their efforts save lives.”
Specialized dockets are courts that are 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. There are more than 210 specialized dockets in Ohio courts dealing with issues such as drugs and alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, and human trafficking.
The standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio, and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources.
“Specialized dockets divert offenders toward criminal justice initiatives that employ tools and tailored services to treat and rehabilitate the offender so they can become productive members of society,” said former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor in her letter of congratulations. “Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars.”
The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. The team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and is presided over by the specialized docket judge.
Along with four Drug Courts, the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court also has five Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities dockets, a Veterans Treatment Court, and a High-Risk Domestic Violence Court. The Court is currently piloting a Violence Intervention Program (VIP) designed to stem gun violence. A Problem Gambling Addiction probation program was recently implemented, and the Court’s Re-Entry docket helps those newly released from prison to re-integrate into society.