The Institute for H.O.P.E. Trauma Recovery Center will provide trauma counseling and mental health support for defendants in the Violence Intervention Docket, also known as "Gun Court," through a recently signed contract with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
The program aims to target young adults to address their trauma before they are involved in violent crime, Cuyahoga County administrative judge Brendan Sheehan, who oversees the specialized docket, said in a news release.
"The progress we can make working together is amazing," Sheehan said in a provided statement. "These efforts will make our community safer and save lives."
Violence Intervention Docket is designed to address root causes of trauma and social determinants that drive people to pick up a firearm and engage in criminal activity, according to the release.
The diversion program aims to address childhood and adult trauma experiences, personal safety, and health and mental health needs for the defendants participating in the program, who are those indicted on a felony charge of carrying a firearm unlawfully while allegedly committing a non-violent crime, according to the release.
The Institute for H.O.P.E. Trauma Recovery Center will receive $275,000 over three years to provide a trauma-informed counselor and coach for participants, with an expectation of serving more than 150 people, according to the release. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance is funding the project.
"Firearms violence is tearing our community apart, and now is the time to try new, fresh approaches to a persistent problem," asid Dr. Akram Boutros, MetroHealth president and CEO, in a provided statement. "Our team is partnering with the court, doing the hard work of digging into the past of these defendants and helping equip them with the tools to process their trauma. Only then can we hope to break the cycle of violence that has plagued our neighborhoods."
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Cleveland Business.