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Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
OCSS - History
Early Prison Education History
- 1884 Warden Peetry established a night school
at the Ohio Penitentiary. By 1909, there was
a civilian superintendent with 20 inmates’ teachers holding
fifteen (15) classes for 200 students. These classes were
held five nights a week for one and half hours per night.
The fifteen classes included: shorthand, penmanship, four
primary classes, five intermediate classes, three advanced
classes and one graduating class. Reading, writing, spelling,
US History, grammar, geography and stenography were taught
in these four school levels.
- 1896 In its first year of operation, the Ohio
State Reformatory (OSR) had an education program, which
according to the penologists of the day, "is the basic step
toward reform." By 1933, Officer A.T. Sneeringer,
Superintendent of Inmate Schools, who had attended classes
at Ohio Northern University, was able to combine character
building into the education as a part of the whole social
fabric. Of the 3486 inmates at OSR, 1625 attended either
half or full days classes. Sixteen trained teachers, many
holding "state life certificates," provided instruction
in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, geography,
history, civics, English, algebra, economy, draftsmanship,
and fundamentals of agriculture. Classes were held five
hours a day, six days a week. In addition since 1925,
W.P. Close, chief engineer, had organized trade classes
in engineering and drafting. In 1928, Mr. Close added
steam engineering, plumbing, steam fitting, electrical mechanics
and welding. Inmates received one hour per day of classroom
study and seven hours of practical experience in the shops.
State examiners provided regulation state tests in stationary
engineering and firing. Years ago trade classes included
brick laying, stone cutting, masonry, broom making and other
trade applicable for the times.
Ohio State Reformatory school room located in Mansfield, Ohio
History of the Ohio Central School System -- Chartered
April 9, 1973
- November 1971 Bennett Cooper, Head of the Division
of Corrections, and education administrators from the eight
prisons first meet with officials from the Department of
Education (DOE) to discuss the development of a statewide
Secondary High School Charter. OSR (Fields High School)
and Lebanon Correctional Institution (LeCI), Shaker Valley
High School, had independent high schools, both Chartered
by DOE in 1965.
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- June, 1972 A study was released entitled, Rehabilitation
Education. It served as the primary document for the school
- June 1972 F. Patrrick Cronin, education administrator
at the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI), became the
first School Superintendent.
- July, 1972 The Division of Correction separated
from the Department of Mental Hygiene and Correction to
become the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC)
with Bennett Cooper as the first Director.
- April 9, 1973 Dr. Martin Essex, Superintendent
of Public Instruction for DOE, presented to Bennett Cooper,
a special purpose school charter for DRC.
DRC Director Bennett J. Cooper, accepting 1973 school charter from Dr. Martin Essex,
Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Ohio Department
- June, 1973 Ohio Project Newgate, through the
Ohio Board of Regents (BOR), was approved for DRC inmates
to attend college.
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- Summer, 1973 Per Ohio Revised Code (ORC), DOE
began annual summer inspections of OSCC with a written report
submitted to the Governor. This ended in 1993 when the mission
of DOE changed regarding school district inspections.
- June 3, 1974 Bennett Cooper officially named
the school system "Ohio Central School System" (OCSS) in
a letter to DOE.
- June 10, 1974 Harrison Morris, Assistant Superintendent,
became the second Superintendent of OCSS.
- Summer, 1974 Per the Library Services Construction
Act (LSCA), OCSS started to receive grant money for the
libraries at Chillicothe Correctional Institution (CCI)
and the London Correctional Institution (LoCI). In 1972,
as part of the LSCA requirements, the State Library of Ohio
hired a library consultant, Phil Koons, to serve as liaison
with OCSS and the Department of Youth Services (DYS), then
known as the Ohio Youth Commission.
- Summer, 1974 DRC and DYS entered into a financial
contract arrangement with the Division of Vocational Education
in DOE to provide a vocational consultant out of DOE and
a Vocational Teacher Educator out of The Ohio State University
(OSU) to serve the vocational programs of both state agencies.
DOE agreed to pay half the costs and OCSS and DYS to pay
one forth each. Initially Brad Carlton out of DOE was hired
to do both jobs. However, Ted Shannon was hired in September
1974 to be the Teacher Educator and Neil Johnson was hired
in January 1975 to be the Vocational Supervisor consultant.
- September 1974 Inmates became eligible for the
federal Basic Education Opportunity Grant (BEOG), forerunner
of the Pell grant, and Ohio Instructional Grant (OIG) for
- September 1974 Inmates began attending Ohio University
through their Independent Study Program.
- July, 1975 The Ohio Penal Education Consortium
(OPEC) was formed. OPEC includes the colleges and universities
that provide post secondary education, through in-house
instruction, to DRC inmates.
- October, 1975 The first statewide OCSS staff
development training conference was held in Columbus, Ohio.
- January, 1980 Rex Zent, Assistant Superintendent,
became the third Superintendent of OCSS.
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- April 1, 1983 A ten year OCSS Anniversary was
held and included Bennett Cooper, Pat Cronin, Harry Morris
with Dr. Essex and Doyle Shoemaker of DOE. All five were
the honored guests and speakers.
- July 1983 OCSS started receiving funding from
DOE for vocational education.
- December, 1983 A statewide Pre-release Program,
under the supervision of OCSS, was established at the Correctional
Pre-Release Center (Now Pickaway Correctional Institution
"PCI"). The women’s Pre-Release Program left in 1986. The
program was provided via contracted services at each prison
(except for state employees at PCI and the Montgomery Education
and Pre-Release Center) from July 1, 1991, until June 30,
2001. On July 1, 2001, the Pre-Release Program contracted
services were eliminated and a Release Preparation Program
was phased in over the next year.
- January, 1984 Jerry McGlone, Assistant Superintendent,
became the fourth Superintendent of OCSS.
- Summer, 1984 OCSS established a DRC Mandatory
Education Policy for inmates reading below 4th grade. Due
to the success of the mandatory program, the grade level
requirement continued to increase over the years.
- Autumn, 1985 The OHIO PLAN, the country’s first
Training, Industry and Education (TIE) initiative, was implemented
in DRC and the Deputy Warden of Treatment’s title was changed
to Deputy Warden of TIE. In the 1990’s the Deputies title
was again changed to Deputy Warden of Special Services.
- July, 1986 The first teachers union contract
was ratified. The teachers union is called the State Council
of Professional Educators (SCOPE) which is an affiliate
of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the National
Education Association (NEA).
- July 1986 Special Education teachers, funded
via a grant for DOE, were hired for Southeastern Correctional
Institution (SCI) where all the under age 22 students were
housed. In 1993, Special Education was expanded throughout
- July 1986 OCSS hosted the International Correctional
Education Association (CEA) Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- February 3, 1987 DRC and DOE approved the regionalization
of administration for OCSS and most of the institutional
Directors of Education (Principals), became Regional Education
Administrators (REA’s). Each institution hired a School
Facilitator ("head" teacher) to run the daily education
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- May, 1987 OCSS central office moved from 1050
Freeway Drive to 315 Phillipi Road to be housed with OPI
in keeping with the TIE initiative. As the number of educational
administrators increased, many were housed at the Corrections
Training academy (CTA) beginning in 1994.
- July, 1987 The Correctional Education Association
of Ohio (CEA-O), was formed. CEA-O is a state affiliate
of the International CEA.
- November, 1987 The first CEA-O Conference was
held at Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio, with 500 participants
from DRC and the DYS.
- April 3, 1989 The first Literacy Unit at Madison
Correctional Institution (MaCI) was established and soon
after a second Literacy Unit at Allen Correctional Institution
(ACI) was created.
- June, 1990, Beverly Jo Taylor, a teacher at the
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF), was killed by
her inmate clerk.
- December 31, 1990 Fields High School ceased to
exist with the closing of OSR.
- February, 1991 An Apprenticeship Mentoring Program
was formally established and document signed by the Lt.
Governor and DRC/OCSS Staff with the US Department of Labor
and the Prince Hall Masons of Ohio.
- December 24, 1991 The title of School Facilitator
was changed to School Administrator.
- March, 1993 The title of Regional Education Administrator
was changed to Principal and title Education Administrator
- September, 1994 With the passage of the federal
crime bill, inmates were no longer eligible for Pell Grants
for college, effective July 1, 1995. This lead to noticeable
media and political attention for OCSS and post secondary
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- October 6, 1994 The Legislative Office of Education
Oversight (LOEO) released its final report on OCSS entitled:
Education Behind Bars: Opportunities and Obstacles. Among
the many recommendations was a line item budget for OCSS.
- October 6, 1994 The legislature changed the language
in ORC 5145.06, which now reflected the use of the words
OCSS for the first time and more specifically noted the
mission of OCSS. Prior to this date ORC 5145.06, stated
the Ohio Penitentiary would have an elementary day school
to provide education.
- July 1, 1995 OCSS received its first line item
budget in DRC, in combination with other programs, as part
of the State’s Biennium Budget.
- July 1, 1995 A Penal Education Study Committee
was established by the 121st General Assembly in House Bill
117, as part of the State Biennium Budget. The Committee
mission was to review the future and funding of the Post
Secondary Education programs in DRC. The bill allowed DRC
to continue the use Ohio Instructional Grants for the biennium.
The committee convened that autumn, with Senator Finan (Finance
Chair of the Senate) selected as Committee Chair. The committee
disbanded in August 1996, with the submission of its recommendations
to the Governor in a report entitled: Post Secondary
Education in Ohio Prisons. Major recommended changes
were 1) for the post-secondary curricula to change from
liberal arts degree programs to advanced job training courses
with certificates and 2) for DRC to fund these courses in
a line item, thus eliminating inmate eligibility for OIG’s
effective July 1, 1997. In addition it recommended funding
for the use of Distance Learning in OCSS effective July
- Summer 1995 Shaker Valley High School at Lebanon
Correctional Institution (LeCI) was disbanded and an adult
high school at LoCI created. This was done due to the increased
security level at LeCI.
- August, 1995 DRC released its first research
document on the recidivism of inmates in education programs
entitled: Evaluation of the Impact of Correctional Education
Programs on Recidivism. It showed positive impact on
education, particularly with 3rd and 4th degree felons,
women, and when completion is close to release.
- January, 1996 Offender Job Linkage was incorporated
into the pre-release curriculum.
- July 1, 1996 OCSS had its first separate line
item budgets in the DRC budget.
- May 12, 1997 The Community Based Correctional
Facilities (CBCF) education programs officially became a
part of OCSS.
- July 1, 1997 Inmates were no longer eligible
to receive college degrees. The new college advanced job
training curricula were officially adopted.
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- July 1, 1997 In the State Biennium Budget, the
legislature provided within the DRC budget a separate OCSS
line item budget. The legislature also included a second
line item for Post Secondary Education, which was now officially
called Advanced Job Training.
- Autumn, 1997 DRC began to emphasize Restorative
Justice and Community Service with its Service Learning
component supported through OCSS.
- April 24, 1998 OCSS celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
All three of the former OCSS Superintendents and First DRC
Director were acknowledged and spoke. DRC Director Wilkinson
and OCSS Superintendent McGlone also addressed the audience.
Old documents and artifacts were on display and a pictorial
history presentation was shown on screen. Current and retired
staff hired in education before April 9, 1973, were individually
- Autumn, 1998 OCSS initiated annual National CEA
audits, which were used until 2001. All schools achieved
100% compliance for each of the years involved.
- Autumn, 1998 OCSS first received federal funds
from the Youthful Offender Program for inmates under age
26 for college. It was used in conjunction with the OCSS
college line item budget to increase the number of inmates
- November 1999 OCSS, having earlier written the
education language for the contracts, started the oversight
of the education departments of the two private prisons
in DRC. The North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility
(NCCTF) opened in February 2000, and was managed by CiviGenics.
In April 2000, the Lake Erie Correctional Institution (LaECI)
opened under the management of the Management Training Corporation
(MTC). MTC also took over the management of NCCTF on July
- February 2000 The State Auditor’s Office decided
to add the OCSS college programs at Belmont Correctional
Institution (BeCI), and Noble Correctional Institution (NCI)
to its audit of the Aramark Food Service Contract at NCI.
- May, 2000 DRC initiated an internal audit of
OCSS and its college programs and submitted the college
findings in the autumn to the State Auditor as part of his
- Spring, 2000 OCSS received its first negative
reports in the media due to these audits.
- July, 2000 CEAO in conjunction with OCSS hosted
the International CEA Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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- August, 2000 DRC completed the OCSS written internal
audit report resulting in major accountability and administrative
changes, effective January 1, 2001. This included use of
an extensive annual OCSS Internal Management Audit. Results
have been as follows: 2002 - 89% compliance, 2003 - 92%
compliance, 2004 - 95% and in 2005 - 98% compliance (Note
in 2001, the first year, statistics were not maintained).
- September, 2000 First Lady of Ohio, Hope Taft,
received a "Jumpy the Kangaroo" puppet as part of the Governor’s
OhioReads ceremony at the Corrections Training Academy.
Jumpy is part of an OCSS reading project designed to teach
inmates and their children literacy skills.
- December, 2000 The legislature came within one
vote of unanimously enacting a mandatory education bill
for DCR inmates who do not have a High School Diploma to
participate in school. The Governor signed the bill and
it became law on March 22, 2001, as part of ORC 5145.06.
- January 1, 2001 OCSS central office moved from
315 Philllipi Road to 820 Freeway Drive.
- February 2001 Director Wilkinson initiated the
Reentry Philosophy into DRC.
- June 30, 2001 Pre-Release Contracts were eliminated
to focus on a broader Reentry Initiative. These contracts
with various community agencies and colleges had been in
place since 1991.
- November 9, 2001 The State Auditor’s Report on
the Aramark Contract and OCSS college programs was released
to the public. The report briefly created more negative
media attention for OCSS.
- November 2001 CEA released the first national
research study on recidivism for correctional education
entitled: CEA Three State Recidivism Study. Since Ohio was
one of the states involved, OCSS received some very positive
media and political attention.
- December, 2001 Due to the DRC Early Retirement
Incentive (ERI), the first of three major OCSS retirement
buyouts took place.
- February, 2002 OCSS in its first report to the
US Department of Education on the students enrolled in college
through the Youthful Offender Program showed a 7.4% recidivism
rate, a very low rate for any program. Subsequent reports
have shown similar results of six to 7%.
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- September 30, 2002 The ERI ended. Fourteen executive
staff and principals of OCSS took advantage of the ERI along
with approximately 20 field staff.
- June, 2003 OCSS central office moved to 1050
Freeway Drive, North.
- Autumn 2003 OCSS instituted the California Assessment
Survey for Adult Students (CASAS) statewide. This replaced
the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) as the primary
testing instrument for OCSS. It was decided this test was
more in line with adult assessment needs and the Reentry
Initiative. TABE had been used since the early 1970’s.
- October, 2004 The Transitional Educational Program
(TEP) started with the original name TETV. It began at NCI
and the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) along with two
CBCF sites. TEP is a collaborative effort with Community
Connection, a non-profit organization designed to help ex
offenders, and OCSS. It includes 1) a CD based program,
2) Distance Learning Delivery and 3) culminates with students
using the TEP web site upon release.
- December 13, 2004 OCSS had its first Virtual
Graduation from TEP.
- January 3, 2005 The adult high school at LoCI
and the high school for the under 18 year olds at MaCI were
combined into one high school called, The Ohio Central High
School. Teachers now rotate between sites.
- January, 2005 Ex offenders of TEP began using
the TEP web site.
- January, 2005 The first Education Intensive Program
Prison (EIPP) became operational at ORW in Marysville, Ohio.
In June the NCCI and NEPRC EIPP’s became operational. Seven
Intensive Program Prisons (IPP) replaced the two "Boot Camps".
Three are education, two are Recovery Services and the boots
camps changed to Community Service as their focus.
- April 22, 2005 OSCC students in the IPP at North
Central Correctional Institution (NCCI) used the Internet
for the first time as part of the e4ME program conducted
through the Ohio Board of Regents (BOR) and its Ohio Learning
- July 1, 2006 The new union contract for teachers
provided OCSS/DYS teachers vacation during the two week
quarter breaks rather than the earned vacation accrued by
all other state employees. Ratification of the contract
was by a close vote due to the controversy of this new provision.
Education leave was eliminated as a trade off for the eight
weeks of vacation.
- July 2006 documents were disseminated on the
effectiveness of TEP which showed the 700 certificated recipients
released since December of 2004, had a 95.5% reentry success
rate, only 4.5% had returned to DRC prisons. The documents
also demonstrated the extensive use the web site and after
care provided by Community Connection to these ex-offenders.
- July 2007, OCSS changed from Pro
literacy (Labauch) tutor training program, a new
national program developed by OCSS staff for CEA, as the
tutoring program. OCSS had used Labauch since
1987; however, it is believed the new CEA Tutor training
program has more applicability and relevance for the
- January 31, 2008, due to the
state's fiscal problems, the Director announces layoffs.
Teachers are exempted from the layoff lists.
- June 10, 2008, Director approves
the move of the OCSS headquarters to the Best Practices
building which is renamed the Training and Education
Center. It is under the supervision of OCSS and
for the first time OCSS has its own separate building in
DRC. The Superintendent and Assistant
Superintendent relocated there along with several OCSS
executive staff from CTA.
- July 1, 2008, the OCSS implements
the new Career Enhancement curriculum which is taught in
five week sessions aimed at short-term employment skill
- August 12, 2008, the central office
of OCSS moves to the old "Best Practices" Building
(formerly the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Building
in front of LoCI). The building was renamed the
Training and Education Center on that date as well. OCSS
is the main group in the building and is responsible for
its operation. The Superintendent and Assistant
Superintendent relocate there along with several OCSS
executive staff from CTA. Thus, for the first time OCSS
has its own building.
- January 2009, due to the continuing
state budget crisis layoff lists are prepared including
- May 2009, the Director announces
the layoffs are suspended.
- June 2009, OCSS has its own
separate address at the Training and Education Center:
1580 State Route 56, P. O. Box 779, London, OH 43140.
- September 30, 2009, OCSS
Superintendent Dr. Jerry McGlone retires after nearly 26
years in this position. He is believed to be the longest
tenured Correctional Education leader in any statewide
- October 11, 2009, Denise Justice,
Assistant Superintendent, becomes the fifth
Superintendent of the Ohio Central School System.
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