Supreme Court awards $ 8.6 million in technology grants to local courts

Ohio courts are receiving more than $ 8.6 million in technology grants this year.

Image of a bar graph showing total technology grant amounts from 2015 to 2021

Ohio courts are receiving more than $ 8.6 million in technology grants this year.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor today announced that 143 local court projects receive more than $ 8.6 million in technology grants this year through the Ohio Supreme Court.

This is the seventh year of disbursements since Chief Justice O’Connor launched the annual Ohio Courts Technology Initiative, with just over $ 27 million in technical upgrades received by Ohio courts. .

Case management upgrades and security enhancements are among the local projects this year.

Due to the pandemic, there were two rounds of awards last year. The regular annual disbursement in January was $ 3.2 million. The Chief Justice followed up with another emergency payment of $ 6 million from March through May due to the pandemic and the need for courts to install technology remotely.

“During COVID, Ohio courts needed improved technology more than ever,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that remote technology is crucial to ensuring that our courts are open to those who need to be there, and for the public and the press to have virtual access to court hearings. . “

Akron Municipal Court received $ 76,044.58 to upgrade audio equipment and install a digital sign in the lobby of its courthouse.

“We share our building with the Akron Police Department and if a court user is new to our building it can be overwhelming when they walk to their designated courtroom,” Administrative Judge Ron Cable said. . “The addition of digital signage to our lobby will provide interested parties and justice partners with key information upon arrival. “

“Upgrading our audio equipment will allow us to better serve the hearing impaired and retain recordings. Our current audio devices, ”he said,“ have around 44,000 boxes ”.

Ohio appeals, common pleas, city and county courts are encouraged each year to apply for grants to upgrade systems, hardware or equipment, or purchase new ones.

The projects selected for funding were rated by a panel of 36 members of judges, court administrators, clerks, IT professionals, security experts and other staff from local state courts.

For this seventh annual round of funding, preference has been given to projects in this order of priority:

  1. New or major upgrades to a case management system that improves case flow or public access
  2. Updates to the CMS or additional modules – such as paperless, e-filing, higher-level software upgrades – that improve business flow or core court functions and improve public access
  3. Systems or applications other than CMS that support continued use of technology remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include digital recording; listening or assisted interpretation systems; imagery; kiosks and equipment that support court processes; and the link through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  4. Upgrade, replace or purchase systems that support pre-trial services, including risk assessment and digital notification which may include email and SMS alerts to reduce defendants’ failure to appear.
  5. Any other computer hardware, software or non-security related equipment.
  6. Upgrading of courtroom or related building security equipment and new facilities.

The Ohio Courts Technology Initiative was established in 2015 to improve information exchange and data warehousing by and between Ohio courts and other justice system partners, an initiative that includes the Ohio Courts Network.

Including this year, the Supreme Court’s technology grants have helped fund more than 650 projects in Ohio.

See it Complete list 2021 grants.

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