Summit DD believes in meeting people where they are. We have a long history of supporting people based on each person’s individual needs. There are instances where a person with a disability may need support through a legal process, to make sure they understand the situation and ensure they receive the proper support to put them on the right path going forward. Thanks to Judge Cable and the Akron Municipal Court team, the Connect program is here to help those with disabilities in the criminal justice system.
What is the Connect Program?
“We are thankful for partnerships like these with the court,” expressed Summit DD Superintendent Lisa Kamlowsky. “The Connect program provides needed support while encouraging individuals to be part of the process. Thorough this collaboration, an individual becomes an active participant in the accountability process, their growth, and ultimately their path forward.”
The mission of the Akron Municipal Court Connect program is “to partner with the Developmental Disabilities Board for early identification of people in the criminal justice system with a developmental disability in order to connect them to the appropriate community supports.” Through a collaborative partnership of organizations, the Connect program identifies individuals who are (or may be eligible) for Summit DD services. If eligible for Summit DD services, a defendant can be referred to the Connect Program.
The new support program uses judicial status reviews to encourage and increase participant accountability. Using this collaborative team approach, the Connect program aims to achieve positive outcomes for the participant and the community.
“We want to see good things happen for people,” explained Judge Ron Cable about the Connect program. Judge cable added that there is no one-size-fits-all approach because every person is different. “We all come together to create a more positive approach than just a court program,” he concluded.
A Team Approach
The Connect program relies on the expertise of disability organizations like Summit DD and the Ohio Department of Disabilities among others and the legal expertise of the Akron Municipal Court staff. It includes a diverse Advisory Board made up of parents of individuals with disabilities, local disability groups (such as the Autism Society, Goodwill Industries, UDS and Down Syndrome Association), disability providers, mental health organizations like the ADM Board as well as other local organizations. (See the full list of Advisory Board representatives)
“We work to see what the person needs,” Judge Cable explained. “We want to take a holistic approach.”
Learn more about the Connect program at the Court’s website.