The Intensive Supervised Probation Program (ISPP) is a collaborative effort which originated from a grant initiated by the Muskingum Area Mental Health & Recovery Services Board approximately four years ago and included Cambridge Municipal Court; Six County, Inc. and Alcohol & Drug Services of Guernsey County (ADSGC).

The Honorable Judge John Mark Nicholson and Magistrate Teresa Liston are currently spearheading efforts along with Allwell Behavioral Health Services, ADSGC, Cedar Ridge, Guernsey County Children Services and Adult Protective Services to provide intervention and much needed services to those struggling with mental health and addiction.

“When the mental health and recovery levy passed in Guernsey County in 2014 it provided more structured opportunities for Allwell Behavioral Health Services and ADSGC to provide additional, intensive treatment to combat co-occurring disorders of mental health and drug abuse and this has also changed the dynamic of what is done in court,” Judge Nicholson said. “The basis of ISPP is helping people help themselves with staying clean and sober and to stay alive.”

ISPP is goal-oriented with a focus on co-occurring mental health treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, skills needed for employment, education, parenting, and functioning successfully in society. The program operates on the premise of behavior modification, a “carrot and stick” approach with sanctions and incentives in additional to various therapeutic interventions by the treatment providers. The ISPP Treatment Team meets on a weekly basis to discuss client participation and progress, any challenges or concerns, and if they are making it to their treatment appointments. ISPP is similar to some of the certified or specialty dockets led by the Supreme Court of Ohio and the goal is to help reduce recidivism and relapse by empowering clients to lead more stable, productive and law abiding lives by getting the treatment that they need to do so.

Judge Nicholson adds, “The treatment team is a wonderful concept because it produces collective wisdom from different disciplines. It’s not uncommon for people to suffer with co-occurring disorders so we have master-level clinical therapists, chemical dependency counselors, and case managers from Allwell Behavioral Health Services, Alcohol & Drug Services of Guernsey County, and Cedar Ridge to provide mental health and drug & alcohol treatment. So many families and innocent children are affected by this drug epidemic and it’s wonderful to have a representative from Guernsey County Children Services and also Adult Protective Services with Guernsey County Job & Family Services on our team also. Cambridge Municipal Court Probation Officer, Seth Cowgill, is a vital part of the ISPP treatment team as he helps to manage and develop the daily operation of this program. I love the concept of ISPP, if we can break the vicious cycles of committing crimes and coming to court then it’s an efficient way to provide public safety. We have to be as efficient and intelligent as we can be. We have had two tragic deaths from overdoses with our ISPP participants but also a number of successful graduates which is incredibly gratifying. The participants in this program are important. It truly is a matter of life and death.”


By The Daily Jeff (Posted May 20, 2018 at 12:01 AM)

Photo By Michael Neilson –