Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction



February 15, 2000

Lieutenant Governor Participates in Department of Rehabilitation
and Correction Community Service and Job Linkage Ceremony

(Columbus)-Lieutenant Governor Maureen OíConnor and Reginald A. Wilkinson, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), today recognized wardens and prison staff for their involvement in DRCís community service initiative. In 1999, the Department completed over 4.2 million hours of community service. In addition, business leaders were thanked for their support in hiring ex-offenders through DRCís Offender Job Linkage program, which began four years ago.

The ceremony was held at the Rhodes Center, located at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair in Columbus. The Ohio Expo Center and State Fair has been extensively involved with DRCís community service initiative.

"Through DRCís community service initiative, inmates are able to Ďgive backí to the community that they originally harmed. These inmates realize that their work is making a positive difference among many communities, schools and organizations throughout the state of Ohio," said Lieutenant Governor OíConnor. "We also appreciate the partnerships that businesses have made with DRC to provide inmates employment opportunities once they are released."

DRCís community service initiative began in 1991, when Ohio inmates completed over 75,000 hours of community service. Since then, inmates have completed a total of 14 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, constructing school supplies for teachers and students in Ohio, training puppies for the visually impaired and the physically handicapped and cleaning up debris from public roads throughout Ohio.

"Through community service, an inmate is able to recognize that they can in fact contribute to rather than harm society," said Director Wilkinson. "Year after year, our staff works diligently to motivate inmates to participate in community service work. The inmate learns needed job skills and prison management is enhanced by reduced idleness."

The Offender Job Linkage program is another unique enterprise that DRC started in 1996. More than 2,500 inmates and 150 employers have participated in 195 job fairs conducted at prisons and through videoconference interviewing. Over 75% of the inmates interviewed at job fairs have either been offered employment or invited for a second interview opportunity.

For more information, please contact the DRC Public Information Office at 614/752-1150.