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In the News

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Robinson's e-mail, sent to governor's office and other elected officials

(Below is an e-mail sent by CAFC to the office of Ohio's Governor, Ted Strickland, as well as other elected officials, regarding the campaign to release Brian Gegner from jail for his daughter's inability to pass a test for her GED diploma:)

Regarding the following story:
"Man jailed after father fails to get GED to appear in court"
Friday, May 16, 2008
Hamilton Journal News

From the above story (italics added):
Rob Clevenger, Butler County court administrator, said:
In 2007, 196 parents were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for not compelling their children to attend school. He said other parents who did not comply have gone to jail, although he could not specify how many."

Before I continue, I have also seen the blistering report regarding the Butler County Juvenile Court, written by former County Commissioner Michael Fox: "A Culture of Secrecy, Fear and Judicial Abuse"

Remember, Brittany's parents kept taking her to school; she would take off after being dropped off. Were these parents supposed to quit their jobs, and handcuff themselves to Brittany? Did Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus expect the parents to beat the crap out of her to get her to comply, so then the court would convict them for child abuse?

Mr. Rob Clevenger sounds like he is the political spin doctor for the out-of-control Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus, and his spin is not working well here because there is no way they can justify parents being jailed because the parents don't have the needed skill to control an out-of-control, strong-willed teen. According to the following and other sources (Fairfield County), the Ohio Attorney General strongly urged counties to start using the The Parent Project® after an impact study of the program's success in helping parents learn how to deal with strong-willed teens.

When Rob Clevenger received the memo from the attorney general's office recommending The Parent Project®, did he just throw it in the trash? Was this because the Niehaus court would rather jail parents, rather than solve the problems parents experience with strong-willed, out-of-control kids? He can make all of the excuses he wants, but there is no way they can justify the Orwellian tactics being employed by this court and by Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus.

The Parent Project® (2004-2005)
Funding Agency: Office of the Ohio Attorney General

"Project Description: With support from the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, ISPV staff conducted an evaluation of Parent Project, a training curriculum for the parents of adolescents who engage in various forms of destructive behavior. Data were collected from both parents and their children, as well as from juvenile courts in Cuyahoga, Mahoning and Stark Counties: http://dept.kent.edu/ispv/pastProj.html

"Fairfield County has been using the program for 2 years with great success after they received information from the attorney general's office urging them to use it:

Toni Ashton, Coalition Director

I guess Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus would rather jail parents and cause them to lose their jobs instead of getting productive results like these:

The following statistics illustrate what happened in Minidoka County, Idaho, from August 1997 (when full implementation of The Parent Project® began) through December 1999:

  • The number of petitions filed for juvenile offenses fell 33%.

  • The number of minors on probation for any cause fell by more than 30%.

  • The number of drug-related probation violations was down by 20%.

  • The number of days spent by youth in detention fell by 24%.

  • School dropouts and expulsions dropped by 95%.

So it costs the county taxpayers approximately $30K a year to house an inmate. In the instant case of a 6-month sentence for Brian Gegner, would mean it could cost the taxpayers $15k. His sentence -- or that of the other parents whom Rob Clevenger says they have jailed -- didn't change the teenagers' destructive behavior. The Parent Project® costs parents at most $240, and in some places as low as $150. Mind you this is paid by the parents, not the tax payers. According to my math, Butler County could have helped 63 parents change their kids' destructive behavior, including improving their academic achievement levels for the $15,000 that it will cost taxpayers to jail Brian Gegner. The taxpayers of Butler county have been robbed by the actions of Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus, and he should be recalled or removed from the bench.

Michael Robinson

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