With more and more Ohio residents becoming addicted to drugs like heroin, the justice system has felt the need to combat the growing problem with more than just punishment. What these people need is rehabilitation, and for drug-addicted misdemeanor offenders, that's exactly what they could get.
Drug court programs like Fresh Start in Fairfield County offer sentencing relief to certain individuals. In exchange for jail time, the offenders agree to participate in a four-phased program that includes counseling, reporting to a probation officer, random drug testing, and weekly in-person meetings with Judge Trimmer.
According to Trimmer, "We bring these people in with welcome arms but they have to want it."
Trimmer explained that they closely monitor this program so that it is not abused. Many offenders simply want to participate to avoid jail. Others really care about getting better – those are the types of individuals chosen for Fresh Start.
Back in 2007, Judge Trimmer noticed a troubling trend. Recidivism rates began to spike, and he would see the same people back in the system for re-offending. These offenders were addicted to heroin and other strong opiates. He knew jail wasn't the answer for many of these individuals.
Judge Trimmer is not alone in his quest to rehabilitate drug offenders. The Fresh Start program is a joint effort between himself, a drug court coordinator, a probation officer, counselor, defense attorney, and a prosecutor.
A young woman who participated in the Fresh Start program commented that she owed her success to the perfect balance of discipline and support the people in the program showed her.
The Fresh Start program and others like it aren't mean to be a quick fix. Participants must exert continued effort if they want to stay clean and out of the justice system.
Koffel Brininger Nesbitt supports offender rehabilitation programs such as this and is committed to achieving workable solutions for those facing criminal drug charges. For more information, call us at (614) 675-4845.