Monday, February 12, 2001

Anderson to get juvenile court

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANDERSON TOWNSHIP — A Juvenile Court program will provide a forum for resolving minor youth offenses in the community before they get bigger.

        Jim Ray, administrator for Hamilton County Juvenile Court, said the court will work with the township to create a juvenile court in the township in about 60 days.

        “We already have several community court programs set up and they are working well,” Mr. Ray said. “I think this kind of court system provides a more meaningful intervention for troubled children.”

        The program is funded by a federal grant administered through Ohio's Office of Criminal Justice Services.

        When a police officer or a school official cites a youth for minor offenses, such as truancy or unruly behavior, the county will schedule a hearing in the community.

        “We will be basically dealing with cases where there has not been an arrest,” Mr. Ray said. “If a youth has been incarcerated the case will have to be heard downtown.”

        Last week, Anderson Township trustees authorized a letter to Mr. Ray requesting the program. Mr. Ray said that once he re ceives the letter from the trustees and one from the Hamilton County Sheriff's office in that area, he will begin setting up the program.

        He said a federal grant provides $350,000 for such courts. It is used to pay for the time the magistrate, case manager and police officer will use during hearings.

        The township agrees to provide security and a police officer during the hearing.

        “We think it is a great program,” Trustee Russ Jackson said. “This was an idea that came out of the Community Leadership Roundtable Council.”

        The council is made up of Anderson Township residents, representing different segments of the community.

        Mr. Ray said the court has programs in Lockland, Sharonville and Arlington Heights, and will also set up programs in St. Bernard, Elmwood Place and Norwood. Lockland started the program in 1999.

        “It has been a success in our community,” said Phil Fox, superintendent of the Lockland School District. “It has had a real impact on our schools and community.”

        Other schools where the program has been set up are: Rothenberg, Vine Street, Oyler, Whittier, Gamble and Schwab.


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