Recognizing the link between the lack of education and crime, Cleveland Municipal Court partnered with several education providers and other community agencies in 2006 to launch a “school, not jail” initiative called Get on Track (GOT). These participating organizations include, among others, Cuyahoga Community College, Project LEARN, Seeds of Literacy, Employment Connection and Amer-I-Can. Together, the partners have developed a holistic approach to enable young men and women to become responsible adults and law-abiding, contributing members of society.
This unique program emphasizes the importance of having a basic education, sustained employment, meaningful life skills, good character and a positive attitude. It also encourages and facilitates the participants to acquire a valid driver’s license and insurance.
Get on Track targets those individuals who did not complete high school or earn a G.E.D., are unemployed and charged (mostly) with traffic and/or lower-level misdemeanor offenses. The participants must commit to the program for up to 18 months, during which time they are exposed to strong motivational speakers, presentations and tutoring.
The program averages 35 referrals a month, and since its inception more than 300 people have graduated from the Get on Track program, which now also includes participants from East Cleveland, Bedford and the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Because of the strong interest in the program and its success rate, the court has assigned two probation officers to work exclusively with Get on Track participants.