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Cleveland Community Court Celebrates First Graduate

May 26, 2017
(Cleveland) – The Cleveland Municipal Court on Tuesday, May 16, celebrated the first graduation by a participant who successfully completed the new Community Court, which is geared toward recognizing participants whose personal circumstances can best be addressed outside the normal criminal docket.
Contact:  Ed Ferenc, Public Information Officer                                  
Cleveland Municipal Court
216 664 6787 / 216 789 2597
ference@cmcoh.org     www.cmcoh.org

(Cleveland) – The Cleveland Municipal Court on Tuesday, May 16, celebrated the first graduation by a participant who successfully completed the new Community Court, which is geared toward recognizing participants whose personal circumstances can best be addressed outside the normal criminal docket.
 
Under the supervision of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Suzan Sweeney, the Community Court is focused on identifying and assisting individuals who have committed low-level, non-violent misdemeanor offenses. 

Raynard George was one of those people. 



Charged with open container, disorderly conduct and trespassing, he completed 75 hours of community work service, alcohol education and a program designed for individuals to improve their relations with police.

“We have found that many times, low-level offenses are symptomatic of a lack of structure in a person’s life.   Community Court addresses this by combining community work service with counseling that is geared to the individual’s specific needs.” 

Sweeney also noted this is a win-win for all involved.

“Through grant funding from the Department of Justice - Bureau of Justice Affairs and the Center for Court Innovations we are reducing recidivism, by having participants contribute to the community via work service, and not imposing on taxpayer dollars,” said Judge Sweeney.

Currently, there are over 30 participants on the docket who are fully engaged in all aspects of the grant and the next graduation is expected later in June.

The Community Court Team is comprised of seven people:   Judge Sweeney; India George, Coordinator;  RaMona Benson, Grant Administrator; Kevin McGlynn, Specialized Docket Supervisor; Josette Pena, Probation Officer;  Lorriane Coyne, City of Cleveland Prosecutor’s Office,  and Khalida Sims, Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office.

All plan to visit New York in June where the first model of community court was adopted.

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