Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer announced the creation of a 15-member advisory board charged with advancing the goals of Ohio's "specialized dockets program" last month. That board, chaired by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Sage, who for the past 10 years has administered a substance abuse and mental illness docket that addresses felony-level offenders with a primary diagnosis of both a severe mental health disorder and drug dependency, met for the first time last Friday. ( Court Announcement )
"From the inception of Ohio's first drug court in Hamilton County in 1995, the use of specialized dockets in Ohio has been broadened to address such issues as mental illness, domestic violence and re-entry courts," the Chief Justice told Ohio Judicial Conference at its annual meeting, Sept. 17th.. "Today, 129 specialized dockets are used by courts ranging from Common Pleas, Juvenile, Municipal and County Courts." (Chief Justice Moyer's speech)
The model for specialized docket was developed in 1989 with the establishment of the nation's first drug court in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Broward County, Florida, experimented with the application of the specialized docket concept to seriously mentally ill offenders, creating the nation's first mental health court in 1997.
Since then, Ohio has become a national leader in the special dockets "movement," today having more mental health courts than any state in the country, and 79 drug and OVI courts. ( Map )
Additional information on Ohio’s programs available ( Here ), and from the National Institute of Justice ( Here ) and National Center for State Courts ( Here ).