Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

                                               NEWS RELEASE                                                    


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             June 20, 2003

  Governor Attends Opening of Ohio Penal Industries Trade Show

(Columbus) – Today Governor Bob Taft joined Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Reginald A. Wilkinson at the opening of the Ohio Penal Industries (OPI) Trade Show, “Creating New Enterprises and Partnerships in Ohio State Government.”

The purpose of the event was to educate consumers of the advantages of purchasing goods and services from state government agencies and to highlight OPI and the products that are manufactured in Ohio’s prisons.

“I’m confident this trade show will create new partnerships and reinforce the importance and numerous advantages of using OPI,” Taft said. “Choosing OPI is not only good for state agencies, but it teaches inmates the important skills they need to succeed in the job market once they are released.”

Other benefits of the OPI Industrial Training Program were highlighted in Director Wilkinson’s comments. “Research has shown that prisoners who leave Ohio’s facilities after working for OPI during their incarceration are 18% less likely to return to prison than inmates who did not,” explained Director Wilkinson. “That, I think, speaks volumes to the quality of the marketable work skills and improves sense of self-worth they are gaining and truly highlights the primary mission of the Department – rehabilitation of Ohio’s adult felony offenders.”

Following the ribbon cutting to open the tradeshow, Governor Taft and Director Wilkinson toured many of the booths to learn more about the products and services available through OPI and other trade show participants including Ohio Industries for the Handicapped, the Ohio Departments of Mental Health and Natural Resources as well as the Office of Support Services.

For more information, please contact the DRC Bureau of Public Information at (614) 752-1150.