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Akron Judges Launch Have Gavel, Will Travel Program

photo of Judge Oldham meeting with school children
Akron Municipal Court
Akron Municipal Court Judge Jon Oldham talks with children at the Mandel Early Childhood Center at the Shaw JCC of Akron.

Judges in Akron want to clear up questions about how the judicial system works for people in the community.

Akron Municipal Court has launched a new program called Have Gavel, Will Travel, to connect judges with schools, churches, scout troops and other community organizations.

Akron Municipal Judge Jon Oldham said one obstacle is convincing people the court isn’t just there to lock them up.

“The court is also there to provide treatment and services to those in our community who are suffering from conditions that can be best treated with treatment instead of a timeout in jail,” he said.

Oldham presides over Akron’s Drug Court, which he renamed Recovery Court to help reduce the stigma associated with addiction.

Specialized dockets like the Recovery Court allow judges to focus on issues directly affecting people in their community.

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.