Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Statewide Reentry Task Force Announced

Today, Chief Justice Sharon L. Kennedy announced a Supreme Court of Ohio Reentry Task Force.

The multidisciplinary task force representing state and local agencies, judges, law enforcement, and community health and rehabilitation partners will be chaired by Judge Chryssa Hartnett of the Stark County Common Pleas Reentry Court. Judge Hartnett’s court is one of nine in Ohio with a specialized reentry docket.

“Last year nearly 18,000 people in our state emerged from incarceration in prison, and many more from jail – but where were they headed when they were released?” asks Chief Justice Kennedy. “We want to make sure they successfully reenter into community and family life, that the door from incarceration opens to living a life restored and does not become a revolving door.”

She has asked the task force to analyze the needs, services, and practices between courts and the reentry population. The task force will identify best practices to aid in reentry with a holistic approach to improve outcomes for those living a life restored. In addition to prison reentry, the task force will examine local jail release efforts.

The Supreme Court of Ohio began certification of specialized dockets in 2013. The first reentry docket in Ohio began in Richland County in 2000. Stark and Summit counties started their reentry dockets in 2006. Since July of 2019, Ohio’s reentry dockets, dealing primarily with individuals who were granted judicial release, have served 821 people.

“The goal is to grow and strengthen seamless reentry,” said Chief Justice Kennedy, “For those who have achieved life restored, they should be able to live a life restored.”

The representatives from criminal justice, health care, and community services will look at evidence-based policy and practices, and collaborative efforts to address basic needs toward successful reentry: education, housing, employment, treatment, and monitoring.

Christopher Nicastro, director of Criminal Justice Services at the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, will serve as vice chair.

The Reentry Task Force will hold its first meeting on May 18, 2023, and is asked to deliver its report of findings and recommendation to the Supreme Court by June 1, 2024.