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New Drug Court in the Works for Women
DAYTON -- Right now in Montgomery County drug cases are evenly split among men and women. That's why one Dayton judge is starting a specialty drug court targeting women.
Gigi Jhair is a survivor.
"23 people have died in Montgomery Co. from heroin overdose this week. And I knew 3 of them," sex trafficking survivor Gigi Jhair said. "Started drinking at a real early age and it lead to crack addiction. 20 years of of my life, prisons and jails. Three years clean."
Gigi is now on the board of the Oasis House, dedicated to healing other women trapped in the sex industry, riddled with addiction.
"Seeing them come in as beaten down beat up, all of the sudden they're on the other side being prostituted and they're drug addicted and so what happened? " Oasis House Director Cheryl Oliver said Thursday.
Aiming to address the vicious cycle of victims to defendants is Montgomery County Judge Gregory Singer.
"We really think the mental health component is crucial to getting to the bottom of what's going on to each individual persons life," Judge Singer explained. "Provide our offenders with the best possible opportunity to lead productive lives and leave the drugs behind."
After years of seeing female victims of domestic abuse and sex trafficking return to his courtroom, Judge Singer is launching a specialized drug court to intercept the resolving door. That's no easy task.
The new format will be less of a gender specific court and more of a therapeutic court; requiring rehabilitation, addressing prenatal care, education and housing.
"Sometimes they don't have a choice the guy will pick them up off the street and get a habit going so they can make 2,000 a day and the girl might take home 80 of that 2,000," Jhair recalled. "I had a problem for 20 years and I asked judges for help. It was deeper than treatment. I needed people to love me and I needed to sit down with people like me."
The courts, police and treatment groups will work together to revive women oppressed by addiction and abuse. A huge win for the Oasis House and the women they serve.
"This is something we have hoped for and prayed for for a long time," Oliver said with a smile.
The new women's court is awaiting final approval from Columbus and is set to begin later this year.
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