Editor, The Messenger,

Zachary Saunders is an excellent candidate for the Athens County Common Pleas Court Judge, Juvenile/Probate Division. Zach is well qualified, highly intelligent, and very compassionate. His compassion is the main factor that inspired me to support him.

One of Zach’s biggest goals for this judgeship is to try to prevent juvenile offenders from becoming adult offenders. He will hire a mental health professional or liaison to work with juvenile offenders that are involved with the juvenile justice system. Being involved in the juvenile justice system could be among the most stressful and upsetting days yet in their lives. Since the likelihood of juvenile offenders to reoffend is higher than it should be, these offenders are likely to end up back on the streets and in our communities without the appropriate support or structure needed. Getting to talk with a caring person, might let some of them figure out resources to help with key issues and release some of their anger and stress. Such a mental health professional or liaison could also talk to those offenders’ families, connecting them to other mental health experts, substance abuse counselors, and any needed resources.

Zach has also spoken compellingly about the destructive impact of opioids on our county’s residents. Zach, his staff, and that mental health professional or liaison will be well prepared to share resources and contacts for substance abuse counselors. He will be eager and active to help these young individuals in overcoming these obstacles in their lives.

Such a compassionate individual who has thought carefully about ways to help offenders could become a humane, fair, and valuable judge. Please consider joining me in voting for Zach Saunders for Athens County Common Pleas Court Judge, Juvenile/Probate Division.

Beth Clodfelter

Athens

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