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Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Faith-Based Recommendations

Correctional Faith-Based Initiatives Task Force Recommendations

The Task Force separated its recommendations into four separate categories, as members felt there exist four areas that deserve consideration. These four categories are Infrastructure, Alternatives to Incarceration, Institutional Programming, and Reentry Programming. All of the recommendations are listed below in their respective categories.

Infrastructure
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services should be encouraged, wherever practical, to utilize faith-based programs that address documented criminogenic needs. The agencies, in conjunction with the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives should make available to the faith community examples of evidence-based programming that has been shown to impact offender's lives.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Directors of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services work with wardens and superintendents to develop programs which will facilitate a cultural change in institutions to encourage collaboration with faith-based service providers.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services develop a marketing plan to assist in recruiting volunteers from the community and faith-based institutions. The plan should also discuss educating volunteers about the justice system.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services develop a standard training program for staff, volunteers, and the community to facilitate working together at each institution. The program should include information on the ethics of working with offenders, confidentiality issues, ensuring the safety and security of volunteers, working with volunteers, and the rules and regulations for volunteers.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force to revise Ohio law to remove unnecessary and unreasonable collateral sanctions which inhibit offenders' successful reentry.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that improvements be made in the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services with regard to communication about programs and services between the staff and the volunteers, the staff and the community, and other parts of the criminal justice system and the community.
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Alternatives to Incarceration:
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force to revise statutes to increase judicial use of community option for non-violent offenders so that prison space can be reserved for violent offenders.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force to encourage faith-based programs to supplement existing community and diversionary programs for offenders and provide services that are not currently available.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that state agencies take a more active role in linking with the faith-based community to develop programs to meet the gaps in services to adult and juvenile offenders.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Department of Youth Services, and the Department of Job and Family Services in partnership expand efforts to work with the Employment Centers and faith community to increase practical employment opportunities for offenders in the community. A job placement program should be implemented, focusing on the following: providing information on job fairs to ex-offenders, education of businesses/employers on the benefits of hiring ex-offenders, incentives for employers to hire ex-offenders (i.e. tax breaks), and the increased involvement of faith-based groups/community groups.
Institutional Programming:
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services work with the faith community, and volunteers to develop and expand programs within the institutions such as life skills programs, financial management/budgeting programs, personal hygiene programs, and family programs including classes on parenting.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services expand partnerships with national organizations, including faith-based organizations, to provide programming in the institutions.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services should involve the faith community when appropriate in the development of release plans for the offender that flow from the institution to community reentry.
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Reentry Programming:
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that methods are developed to increase and encourage the involvement of the community and the faith community in various reentry efforts, and to encourage collaboration among faith groups.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that to address housing issues, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services should inform offenders of various options before leaving prison or immediately upon release. This could be accomplished through seminars, with free legal or consultation services, along with the increased involvement of the community and faith community.
  • It is the recommendation of the Task Force that the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services partner with grassroots and community organizations in an educational effort towards the general public aimed at decreasing the negative stigma of ex-offenders and making the public awareof the needs involved in the process of reentry.

Contact

Shelli Branch
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
614-752-1704

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