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MetroHealth offering trauma counseling to defendants in Cuyahoga County's 'gun court'

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Posted at 11:49 AM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 11:49:44-04

CLEVELAND — MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E Trauma Recovery Center announced a partnership with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to offer trauma counseling and mental health support for defendants in the Violence Intervention Docket, also known as “Gun Court," according to a release from the hospital.

The program between a hospital and the court is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The purpose of the program is to target young adults and their trauma before they become involved in violent crime.

“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.”

Sheehan oversees the Violence Intervention Docket, which is designed to address the root causes of trauma and social determinants that drive people to pick up a firearm and commit a crime.

The defendants in this program are indicted on a felony charge of carrying a firearm unlawfully while allegedly committing a non-violent crime.

“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, in a news release. “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 H.O.P.E. Trauma Recovery Center will receive $275,000 over three years to provide a trauma-informed counselor and coach for participants. The project is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The goal is to serve more than 150 people in the community.

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