Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
For Immediate Release:
March 1, 1999
(Columbus)--- Lt. Governor Maureen O'Connor and Reginald A. Wilkinson, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), thanked business and community leaders for their support in hiring ex-offenders through a partnership which started three years ago. Wardens and prison staff were also recognized for supervising inmates while they completed over 3.3 million hours of community service in 1998. The ceremony took place at the Della Selsor Building, located at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London, Ohio. The Madison County Fairgrounds has been a long-standing community service partner that has benefited from inmate labor.
"The communities, schools and organizations who benefit from the inmate labor are the only beneficiaries of the community service program. When prisoners "give back" to the society they originally harmed, they are completing the circle of restorative justice," stated Lt. Governor O'Connor. "We appreciate the partnerships that businesses have made with DRC to provide inmates employment opportunities once they are released."
The community service initiative began in 1991 when inmates completed 75,550 hours of community service. Since 1991, inmates have completed over 8 million hours of community service. Inmates are able to volunteer and work on a variety of projects. Projects include, but are not limited to:
Refurbishing computers for schools;
Laundry services for homeless shelters;
Rehabbing houses for low income families;
Training pilot dogs for handicapped citizens
Through the Offender Job Linkage program, employers from the private sector participated in 57 job fairs at state prisons. Over 1,600 inmates were interviewed and 29% of the inmates interviewed were offered employment upon their release from prison. Some interviews with potential employers took place by teleconferencing seminars, which DRC sponsored.
"DRC believes in inmates repaying their debts to society. We are also firm believers in training prisoners so they can reintegrate back into society with marketable skills," said Director Wilkinson. "We are proud of our staff and commend them for continuing to motivate inmates to complete community service hours."
For more information please contact the DRC Public Information Office at (614) 752-1150.