GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Municipal Judge Eric Mulford has announced that the Gallipolis Municipal Court was recently awarded a Justice Reinvestment Incentive Grant (JRIG) by the State of Ohio, Bureau of Community Sanctions (BCS).
The award, totaling $233,330, will be used to subsidize the operations of the court’s probation department for an initial 17-month period, after which funding may be renewed if the court meets the goals set by the solicitation.
The primary goal of the proposal submitted to BCS by the municipal court included reducing by 20 percent the number of misdemeanor offenders incarcerated in the county jail as a result of technical or minor probation violations. The grant award will allow the municipal court to pay the salary and fringe benefits of two probation officers, as well as offer increased evidence-based programming to offenders placed on intensive probation. Specifically, Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) classes, trauma group counseling, more frequent drug testing and treatment, and GPS-monitored house arrest will be offered in lieu of long-term jail sentences for eligible offenders.
“Based on the lack of available local jail space, we feel that this partnership with the state will help achieve our goal of increasing public safety while bringing tax dollars back to Gallia County from Columbus,” Mulford said. “MRT, trauma group, and house arrest are all evidence-based programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism. As with everything in life, these programs come with a cost, which this grant will pay for indigent defendants. Additionally, this will free up local jail space for higher-level offenders.”
Mulford expressed his appreciation to Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin and his staff, the Gallia County Commissioners, Gallipolis City Manager Gene Greene, State Representative Ryan Smith and Congressman Bill Johnson for their support of the initiative.
“I would also like to publicly recognize the municipal court probation staff and thank each of our officers, Robbie Harrison, Shallon Schuldt and Tom Wright, for the time and efforts that each put in every day to making the court responsive to the needs of our community,” Mulford said. “In addition, our community partners, including Wing Haven, which will operate the trauma group, as well as the staff of Health Recovery Services, were particularly helpful in the planning phase of this solicitation.”
There are currently 895 offenders supervised by the municipal court probation department, including 432 on intensive reporting probation. Of those 432, approximately 30 clients per year participate in specialized dockets such as drug and mental health court, and approximately 90 offenders per year generally serve sentences of house arrest in lieu of jail. Mulford expects the JRIG project to impact at least 85 additional offenders.
The award of this funding brings the total dollar amount of grant awards received by the municipal court since January, 2017 to just over $410,330.
For more information about the Gallipolis Municipal Court, contact the Bailiff at (740) 446-9400, ext. 226.