MetroHealth to Assist Defendants in Gun Court With Trauma Counseling, Mental Health Support
The MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.™ Trauma Recovery Center recently signed a contract with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to provide trauma counseling and mental health support for defendants in the Violence Intervention Docket, also known as “Gun Court.”
This partnership is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
“Firearms violence is tearing our community apart, and now is the time to try new, fresh approaches to a persistent problem,” said Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, President and CEO of The MetroHealth System. “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.”
“The goal of this program is to target young adults and focus on their trauma before they become involved in violent crime,” said Cuyahoga County Administrative Judge Brendan Sheehan. “The progress we can make working together is amazing. These efforts will make our community safer and save lives.”
Judge Sheehan oversees the Violence Intervention Docket. The specialized docket is designed to address the root causes of trauma and social determinants that drive many people to pick up a firearm and engage in criminal activity. The defendants participating in the program are individuals indicted on a felony charge of carrying a firearm unlawfully while allegedly committing a non-violent crime.
This program is a diversion program that aims to specifically address childhood and adult trauma experiences, personal safety and health and mental health needs to prevent the very real collateral sanctions that a felony gun conviction can carry.
The Institute for H.O.P.E.TM Trauma Recover Center will receive $275,000 over three years to provide a trauma-informed counselor and coach for participants. The expectation is to serve more than 150 people and permanently reduce the reliance on guns and firearms in our community.
The project is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.