Two major initiatives were announced by the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio Attorney General last week.
The first was Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton and Attorney General Mike DeWine’s announcing that the Court’s 10-year old Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts (ACMIC) is being evolved into a new, combined-effort, Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness, allowing expansion into areas beyond everyday realm of the court system. ( Columbus Dispatch )
The ACMIC, was initially tasked with developing solutions for the “revolving door issue of persons with mental illness trapped in the criminal justice system,” the Attorney General’s press release stated. “In the past 10 years, ACMIC has helped establish 37 mental health courts, promoted the training of 4,580 crisis-intervention team officers in 76 of 88 counties, made recommendations for changes to Medicaid, and advocated for a new Juvenile Competency Statute.” (See ACMIC’s web page for much more)
Attorney General DeWine and Justice Stratton also collaborated on the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) at the national level when Attorney General DeWine was a U.S. senator. The MIOTCRA program helps identify, treat and supervise persons with mental illness who otherwise would cycle in and out of the justice system.
Second was the Attorney General’s Office’s announcement of “a bold new ‘Crimes Against Children Initiative,’ comprehensive plan to protect Ohio's children from sexual predators.” ( Here )
That new undertaking creates a "Crimes Against Children Unit" at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), which will investigate child predator cases and, along with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) provide specialized training to Ohio law enforcement.
Two attorneys within the Attorney General's Special Prosecutions Unit will address crimes against children exclusively, thereby providing valuable resources to local officials who will be able to tap their assistance in the prosecution of predator cases.
Finally, an internal “rapid response team” addressing issues spawn from sex crimes committed against children will be put together. The team will include child victim advocates, special prosecutors, and agents from BCI. The Rapid Response Team will respond to victims in the field, partnering with local medical experts as needed.