(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that 51 local courts will receive a total of $10.2 million in grant funding to help reduce accumulated backlogs of pending court proceedings.
Governor DeWine is awarding the funding as part of the Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program, which launched earlier this year to help local courts reduce the time-to-disposition of pending cases, remove barriers to the timely resolution of cases, and apply creative solutions to improve case flow.
“I’m grateful for all the hard-working people in our courthouses who work every day to uphold the right to a fair trial,” said Governor DeWine. “The funding we are awarding today will support this work and ensure that justice is served in a timely manner.”
Projects that received funding include pre-trial programs, kiosk check-in systems, technology to simplify bench warrant processing, and updates to case management systems that will increase the efficiency of court case processing. Grants were also awarded to help courts maintain adequate staffing levels.
Municipal and county courts, courts of common pleas, and appellate courts were eligible to apply for grants for one- or two-year projects. The Office of Criminal Justice Services, which is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, worked in partnership with the Supreme Court of Ohio to develop the grant criteria and select award recipients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic impacted courts in various ways,” said Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Some courts experienced staffing challenges while others are using technology to permanently increase efficiency of courts and save time and money for litigants.”
The Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program is funded as part of the $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly dedicated to first responders last year to help counter various pressing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increases in violent crime and decreases in staffing levels in criminal justice fields.
Other assistance for criminal justice partners developed by the DeWine-Husted Administration includes the creation of the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, Ohio School Safety Center, Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness, Ohio Prisoner Extradition Reimbursement Program, Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program, Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program, Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative, Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program, Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program, Community Violence Prevention Grant Program, and the new eWarrant database.