“Commitment to Accountability, Opportunity, and Achievement”
The Morrow County Court of Common Pleas Probation Services consists of two departments: the Adult Probation Department and the Juvenile Probation Department. In addition to the aforementioned departments, probationers may be referred to the Morrow County Specialized Dockets. These departments have been recognized for continuous program improvement and quality of delivery of services by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, the Ohio Department of Youth Services, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Probation Services employs one Chief Probation Officer, one Quality Assurance and Grants Coordinator, two Intensive Supervision Adult Probation Officers, one Intake Adult Probation Officer, one Pre-Trial Services Officer, one Pre-Sentence Investigative Officer, two Substance Abuse Court Probation Officers, two Juvenile Probation Officers, one Juvenile Diversion Probation Officer, and one Administrative Assistant.
Probation Services are trained regularly by the University of Cincinnati, the Carey Group, the Department of Youth Services, and the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. All Probation Officers are required to be firearm certified and be trained in defensive tactics.
Probation Services heavily rely on federal and state grants for salaries, programming, equipment, and training; below is a list of grants that are currently funding Probation Services:
-Grants funded through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
-Probation Improvement and Incentive Grant
-CCA Intensive Supervision Probation
-CCA Pre-Trial Supervision
-CCA Pre-Sentence Investigation
-CCA Quality Assurance
-Grants funded through the Ohio Department of Youth Services
-Competitive RECLAIM Juvenile Diversion
-Alternatives to Detention for Status Offenders
-Juvenile Accountability Block Grant – Study Tables
-House Bill 153 Training
-Grants funded through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
-Morrow County Substance Abuse Court
-Adult Drug Court Subsidy Payroll
Chief Probation Officer
Gregory Thomas has served as the Chief Probation Officer for the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas since April of 2015.
The Chief Probation Officer is responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of programs for individuals who have been placed on adult and juvenile community control sanctions (probation); additionally, he has oversight of the operations of the Morrow County Substance Abuse Court. He supervises all Probation Officers and support staff for Probation Services. Gregory works closely with Amanda Wheeler, Quality Assurance and Grants Coordinator, in applying for grants and keeping Probation Services in compliance with state regulations. Gregory also assists Diana McLain with the fiscal operations, specifically concentrating on grant funding, the receipt of funding, and all expenditures. He interacts regularly with the appropriate state agencies to discuss funding, compliance, auditing, and many other areas.
The Chief Probation Officer, along with all Probation Services staff, are assisted administratively by Cheryl Watts. Cheryl is responsible for all document filing, client interaction, and scheduling of clients. She also collects Probation fees and has oversight in ensuring the Court has adequate supplies.
Quality Assurance and Grants Coordinator
Amanda Wheeler serves as the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas Quality Assurance and Grants Coordinator. Amanda accepted this position in December of 2015, after serving the Court in a multitude of roles since March of 2004. Amanda writes all grant applications for the Court, monitors active grants, i.e., renewals, addendums, etc., monitors compliance with state requirements and regulations, and conducts multiple trainings for Probation Services. Amanda actively trains Probation Officers in Community Corrections Information System (CCIS), serves as an EPICS trainer, and assists the Chief Probation Officer and Fiscal Coordinator in preparing and overseeing all audits conducted by the state. Amanda assists the Fiscal Coordinator and Chief Probation Officer with the fiscal operations of the Court.
Pre-Trial Services & Pre-Sentence Investigations
In August of 2015, the Court of Common Pleas hired Michele Kirk as a Pre-Trial Services Officer. Michele meets with individuals who are charged with crimes and, after arraignment, are awaiting trial. These offenders are Court Ordered stipulations that they need to follow; such stipulations include, but are not limited to, obtaining an alcohol/drug assessment, engaging in counseling/therapy, refraining from committing additional criminal acts, and meeting with the Pre-Trial Services Officer as directed. Pre-Trial Services saves the taxpayers money by reducing the amount of people incarcerated while awaiting trial.
The Court of Common Pleas employs Diandra Moore to complete pre-sentence investigations and prepare detailed reports for the Court.
The Pre-Sentence Investigative Office completes background investigations on individuals who have pled guilty or been found guilty of a crime. Background investigations can include, but are not limited to the following: military, marital, education, criminal, traffic, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, and family history. The Pre-Sentence Investigative Officer then prepares a report for the Court. The report, which is mandated by the Ohio Revised Code, provides valuable and necessary information to the Judge that is used in sentencing.
Thinking for a Change
In 2012, the Court implemented the Thinking for a Change Program. Currently, the Court has four facilitators: Diandra Moore, Lindsey Copley, Andrew Szteiter, and Kyle Hobbs. The Thinking for a Change Program works on a group and role playing concept to encourage offenders to change attitudes and thinking patterns. Participants in group therapy are encouraged to evaluate negative behaviors and replace those behaviors with positive actions.
Morrow County Specialized Docket
Morrow County Court of Common Pleas receives funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to plan and implement the Morrow County Substance Abuse Court. The Morrow County Court of Common Pleas operates four treatment Court dockets: Treatment –in-Lieu, Adult Criminal, Juvenile, and Family Dependency Treatment. The purpose of all dependency treatment dockets is to provide collaborative evaluation and treatment services. A team of individuals, made up of treatment providers, court personnel and the Judge or Magistrate meet before each court session to assess the participants progress in remaining sober and working towards set goals. Court sessions are informal and held every two weeks. The Court closely monitors each participant’s progress to insure that the participant remains sober and works towards becoming a productive member of society. Renee Watts is the Probation Officer assigned to the Treatment-in-Lieu, Juvenile, and Family Substance Abuse Court dockets. Ashlynn Couturier is the Probation Officer assigned to the adult criminal Substance Abuse Court docket.
The treatment-in-lieu docket is comprised of individuals who have committed a crime that is directly related to their drug or alcohol abuse. The purpose of the docket is to provide treatment services to who are at risk for further criminal behavior due to alcohol or drug abuse.
The adult criminal docket is comprised of people who have been convicted of crimes and who have been placed on community control sanctions (probation). Again, the purpose of this docket is to insure that participants receive needed treatment, remain sober, and do not commit additional crimes.
The juvenile delinquency docket is comprised of Juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent and who have engaged in drug or alcohol abuse.
The mission of the family docket’s mission is to provide collaborative evaluation and treatment services for substance abusing parents who have lost or are at risk of losing custody of their children due to abuse, neglect or dependency. These intensive services will be provided with the expectation that parents will attain sobriety, safety and expedite reunification with their children.