Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction



November 15, 2000

Restorative Justice Week Begins in Ohio’s Prisons

Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery joined Reginald A. Wilkinson, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), in kicking off Restorative Justice Week in Ohio at a ceremony at the Corrections Training Academy today.

The symposium’s theme: "Harmony and Healing" encompassed a presentation by Ohio sculptor Stephen Canneto of his sculpture entitled "Memorial to our lost Children." The installation, which was constructed by Ohio inmates, takes the form of a house ripped apart by violence. One of the inmates who helped construct the sculpture also spoke at the symposium. Some of the Department’s partners in Restorative Justice hosted roundtable discussions, including: Parents of Murdered Children, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Ohio Victim Witness Association and The Clothesline Project.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has been active in the Restorative Justice movement since 1998, when the concept was introduced to wardens and executive staff. Under the rubric "Community Justice," DRC created a Community Justice Cabinet; councils representing victims, staff, prisons, the community and offenders; and expanded its community service efforts, reaching an astounding 4 million hours of community service this year.

In anticipation of changes promulgated by Senate Bill 2 in 1996, DRC added a victim representative to the Ohio Parole Board and created the Office of Victim Services to assist victims of crime in their dealings with the prison and parole systems. Each prison and parole office also has assigned a liaison to answer questions and offer assistance to victims of crime. DRC is also a leader in victim/offender dialogue, an innovative program in which crime victims and survivors may participate in discussions with the perpetrator of their crime. Many victims feel this process answers important questions, eases their fears and helps them achieve a sense of closure.

The symposium also featured activities and projects taking place throughout Restorative Justice Week at DRC facilities. These include displays, classes, information sessions, open houses and fund raisers for organizations working with victims of violence.

For more information contact Public Information Chief Joe Andrews at (614) 752-1150.