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Thursday’s meeting of the Court Services Board failed to meet quorum requirements, and the Mental Health Court Board, and Drug Court Boards handled no new business apart from receiving reports.

However, Judge Ken Stoner closed out the meeting with an overview of the successes of the Drug Court Program for the last year.

Quorum

When Chairman Bob Ravitz, Chief Public Defender, entered the room, he said, “We haven’t been doing real well with quorums.”

Indeed, the Court Services Board has nine members (list below) but only four were present for this meeting, making this the fourth of five meetings this year without a quorum.

The meeting was called to order by the Chairman and immediately recessed to allow more members to arrive.

They did not.

One member, Judge Cindy Truong, texted Judge Ken Stoner to resign from her seat on the board. If only one more member had resigned, a quorum would have been reached and many reports would have been accepted.

Mental Health Court

The Mental Health Court Board received a report on participants.

According to the first reading of the report, Mental Health Court currently has 128 active participants. We were told 14 of those are currently incarcerated. Oh, but wait.

After the report, Ravitz said that 32 incarcerated participants out of 128 total is not a good percentage. Then somebody said, “It’s actually 24.” Then somebody said, “It’s 14, which adds up to 13.”

And chaos, my friends, reigns supreme.

The DA’s office said that Judge Walke wants more participants in the program. Ravitz asked, “Why? So we can put more people in jail?” Ravitz has some saltiness sometimes.

The budget for the Mental Health Court was reported. Currently, there is $154,202 in the budget. That does not reflect a copier lease, some supplies, and bus passes that will be purchased for participants.

Security

Drug Court and Mental Health Court previously had office space on the 6th floor of the Courthouse Annex, but when asbestos was discovered they were moved to the Investors Capitol Building.

Ravitz mentioned to one Drug Court employee that the item of security seems to have died on the vine.

Joe Blough, District 1 Chief Deputy Commissioner, said that the District 1 Commissioner’s office still intends to continue to pursue adding security to that building. The Drug Court employee said, “Oh, good. Thank you.”

Free Press has reported on this issue before:

Drug Court

The Drug Court report was largely made up of statistics.

There are approximately 301 enrollees in the program, but of those about 212 are active and 89 are away without leave (AWOL). Eight are in custody, of whom six were arrested last week. Twenty are currently sanctioned to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC).

DUI Court has 212 participants of which 186 are active. That means 28 are AWOL. Three are currently in custody with pending revocations due to new DUI charges. Two are currently sanctioned to DOC.

There is one participant in Drug Court who started the program in 2004. It was explained that he fell off the radar for nine years. That’s nine years that he spent not getting caught or arrested for anything. It was explained that sometimes participants leave the state or even die, but that the court doesn’t know.

Goals

The Oklahoma County Drug Court is not currently recognized by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals as a Mentor Court. Changing that is a goal. In order to achieve that goal, core team members must attend training in best practices standards.

The Drug Court is seeking relationships with a private donor base to achieve some of their goals. Having a donor base would help pay for drug tests for indigent participants, training, Spanish translation, and even creating emergency housing.

Drug Court has received some donations in the past that were very helpful. EMBARK donated 2,000 all-day passes (an $8,000 value) for participants.The Drug Court received product donations from the Oklahoma Thunder Organization and Smart Start for incentives for Recovery challenges that started in December of 2018.

According to Judge Kenneth Stoner, building a private donor base requires being more public-facing. In service of that, His Honor would like to start having public graduations annually in Spring and Autumn.

Success

At the end of the Drug Court Board, Judge Stoner gave a brief presentation on the success of the Drug Court program.

Currently the graduation rate of participants in the program is 85%. That’s higher than any other drug court in Oklahoma.

From July of 2017 to July 2018, 152 participants in the program received 326 sanctions resulting in 2,266 days in jail for participants. That averages to one full week in jail per sanction, meaning each time a participant violates the agreement.

In the last year, those numbers have been reduced significantly. The total number of days spent in jail by participants on sanctions was 790 for an average of 3.1 days per sanction. That is a 65% reduction in total jail days.

Adjournment

After Stoner’s presentation Ravitz returned the meeting to the Court Services Board in time to adjourn that meeting as no quorum ever was reached.

Oh well.

Board memberships

Court Services Board:

Forrest “Butch” Freeman – Chairman
Bob Ravitz – Vice-Chairman
David Prater – Member
Rick Warren – Member
P.D. Taylor – Member
Ken Stoner – Member
Cindy H. Truong – Member
Kent Bridge – Member
BoCC Chair – Member

Mental Health Board:

Bob Ravitz – Chairman
Forrest “Butch” Freeman – Vice-Chairman
David Prater – Member
Rick Warren – Member
Ken Stoner – Member
P.D. Taylor – Member
BoCC Chair – Member

Drug Court Board

Bob Ravitz – Chairman
Forrest “Butch” Freeman – Vice-Chairman
David Prater – Member
Rick Warren – Member
Ken Stoner – Member
P.D. Taylor – Member
BoCC Chair – Member

DA’s office had a proxy attending. Joe Blough attended for Blumert. Stoner and Ravitz were present.



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