The Stark County Court of Common Pleas CHANCE Program was planned and developed in 1997. The development of the program was a cooperative effort between the Court, the Stark County Prosecutor's Office, the office of the Public Defender, the Stark County Day Reporting Program, Pre-trial Services Program, Intensive Supervision Probation Program (ISP), local law enforcement agencies and local treatment providers. The goal of the program is to utilize existing services to identify non-violent felony offenders with substance abuse problems and offer individualized treatment and monitoring to those individuals in order to provide rehabilitation and reduce criminal behavior and the need for imprisonment.
The CHANCE Program is a specialized drug court program for eligible nonviolent felony drug and alcohol related cases. It is a highly structured program where offenders are given the opportunity to address their substance abuse issues through intensive treatment and supervision. Participants are required to make regular court appearances before the CHANCE Program Magistrate. The CHANCE Program team, consisting of the Magistrate, the Prosecutor, the Public Defender, the Probation Officer and the Counselor reviews each case. Participants are required to follow specific program rules.
- An individual must meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be referred to the CHANCE Program.
- Current charge is a probation-eligible offense.
- Offender is charged with a felony offense; however, nothing more serious than a third degree felony.
- Offender is charged with a drug charge or a drug-driven charge (excluding drug trafficking).
- Offender is charged with an offense that does not carry a mandatory jail sentence of over ten days
- Offender is charged with an offense that is non-violent and there is not a history of violence.
- Offender is capable of participating in and completing the program. (Serious patterns or symptoms of criminality, violence, mental illness, low intellectual functioning or physical health would preclude program participation. An amount of restitution, which could not be paid within the program time frame, would preclude program participation).
- Offender demonstrates an interest in and willingness to participate in at least a minimum of a 12-month treatment program.
- Offender would benefit from drug and/or alcohol treatment.
- Offender must have an established Stark County residence.
The CHANCE Program is a minimum 12-month intensive treatment program with three phases. It is the philosophy of the program that a comprehensive approach will be used to assist individuals in becoming responsible, contributing members of society. The program will include regular court appearances, submission to random drug screens, attendance in group counseling sessions, regular meetings with the probation officer, 12-step meeting attendance and other services such as anger management counseling, community service work, GED classes and vocational and educational assistance based upon the individual's risks and needs.
- Phase I: CHANCE participants remain in this initial phase for eight weeks. It includes reporting one to three times per week to the CHANCE officer, random drug screens, and a 9:00 p.m. curfew. The probation officer monitors compliance with payment of court-ordered financial obligations, community service hours and job verification.
- Phase II: This phase lasts 16 weeks and includes reporting one to two times per week to the CHANCE officer, random drug screens, and a 9:00 p.m. curfew. The probation officer continues to monitor compliance with payment of court-ordered financial obligations, community service hours and job verification.
- Phase III: This phase lasts 28 weeks and includes reporting at least once a week to the CHANCE officer, random drug screens, and a 12:00 a.m. curfew. The probation officer monitors compliance with payment of court fees, community service hours and job verification.
Supervision and monitoring will follow the three phases of the program with adjustments made based on individual progress in the program. The probation officer can monitor curfew requirements through nightly call-in by the offender. In addition to home visits and required office visits, the probation officer may make random work site visits to program participants.
The CHANCE Program is based on the goal of abstinence from all mood-altering substances for program participants. The team will work to assist individuals to successfully complete the program; however, the choice to be successful in recovery is based on the participant's dedication to maintaining a crime, drug and alcohol free lifestyle.
Upon successful completion of the program, the felony charge(s) that initiated the referral to the CHANCE Program will be dismissed. Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI) charges will not be dismissed.
Chance Program Brochure