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Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Faith-Based Suggestions

Related Links

Correctional Faith-Based Initiatives Task Force Leadership Input Forum Suggestions

Volunteer Specific Concerns (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Make it easier for volunteers to enter into the facilities
  • Volunteers should network with Unit Management Staff
  • Simply gate pass procedures
  • Keep volunteer information updated in Departmental Offender Tracking System
  • Educate volunteers of expectations
  • Develop consistent entrance authorization procedures
  • Allow volunteers to become involved earlier in incarceration
  • Be more open and receptive to volunteers
  • Change institution culture to be more hopeful towards offenders and be more receptive to volunteers and realize that this helps victims by creating less victims
  • Provide volunteers reasonable access to information
  • Allow volunteers greater access to inmates to help prepare them for community reentry
  • Volunteers need access to Unit Management staff to assist with inmate/youth needs
  • Allow religious services employees and volunteers to have access to state facilities, i.e., chaplain in county can come to state institutions once the inmate is transferred
  • Establish and publish "volunteer rights"
  • Establish a mediation process for volunteers in the event there are accusations of misconduct
  • Be more responsive to volunteer requests
  • Provide training and support systems for volunteers
  • Develop consistent policy for ex-offender participation in volunteer programming
  • Need better and more extensive recruitment of mentors
  • Staff need to be educated on variety of faiths and allow faiths to participate in the training
  • Staff need to be less disruptive in allowing volunteers to provide services
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Communication (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Everyone must be kept informed through means such as newsletters, media, Website, etc.
  • Provide direction to interpret security concerns which have traditionally been barriers to programs
  • Be open to new ideas
  • Need more interaction with leadership so they know who is providing the programming
  • Need better communication
  • Keep Website updated
  • Follow through on promises
  • Conduct regular meetings with volunteers
  • Share information--to be advocates to embrace reentry
  • Share resources to develop linkages
  • Emphasize and communicate the positive things offenders are doing
  • Bring institutions and organization together to talk about issues and share information
  • Provide mechanism to resolve issues of empowerment
  • Articulate need to faith based community
  • Expand awareness to the community through Rotary clubs and other organizations
  • Use volunteers to increase communication between county and state organizations, legislation, commissioners, corrections, sheriffs, etc.
  • Collaborate and bring together service providers
  • Encourage networking with other agencies, i.e., local jails, group homes, corporate leaders, etc.
  • Educate the public, officers, and employers in the community about the real needs of ex-offenders
  • Prepare the community to accept the ex-offender
  • Post solutions on the Web site so the "wheel is not reinvented"
  • List "best practices" on the Web site
  • Invite grassroots organizations into facilities
  • Identify STG leaders returning to community
  • Eliminate duplicated efforts of providing reentry information--establish a uniform directory
  • Work with and educate businesses
  • More exposure with "model" ex-offenders
  • Educate faith community regarding the DRC and DYS departments
  • Distribute document illustrating providers and services--send document to entire community
  • Pass on the word via newsletters, newspapers, memos, etc.
  • Distribute clear information to the inmates as to where food banks are located, who provides clothes, etc.
  • Host mentor forums, etc.
  • There is a need for uniformity with the departments
  • There should be a contact list circulated for participants/service specialties
  • Establish a computer link to community programming
  • More effective communication with community resources with history of involvement with offenders entering the prison system
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Programs (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Provide more structured programs that focus on life skills, jobs, family, etc.
  • Create a shift in philosophy--good programming creates better security
  • Educate offenders about available programming
  • Create incentive for offender involved in programs
  • Schedule slots for programming and follow through with schedule
  • Offer programs that include "family meals"
  • Offer programs that include more family participation
  • Offer programs that provide the offender the opportunity to interact with his or her children
  • Provide "Marriage Encounter" programs
  • Begin interaction/mentoring at incarceration to release within the family following release--earlier invention
  • Provide program materials
  • Mandate that offenders complete programming during incarceration
  • Provide family case management
  • Work with and provide intervention training for "at risk" children of offenders
  • Increase in-house programming for the family
  • Work with parenting partners
  • Educate the family on ex-offender transition barriers
  • Provide better coordination to community based programs
  • Use more ex-offenders in programming
  • Develop inmate mentors making use of skills and expertise
  • Implement a variety of programs that will serve as a liaison back to the county of residence
  • Bring success stories from former inmates to share with current inmates
  • Hold program participants to a higher standard
  • Develop more aftercare programs
  • Improve education of families, community volunteers, etc. on how to work with offenders
  • Use a holistic approach to reentry that includes family, parents, significant others, children, etc.
  • There is a need for programming that doesn't require the participants to have children or other limiting factors
  • Make programming available to inmates with shorter sentences
  • Make certain that training that is being offered is relevant to job opportunities
  • Increase programming and education funding
  • Establish mentors for offender families
  • Dedicate program space
  • Identity resources to program providers
  • Provide greater access to Family Worship Services
  • Community organizations should work more closely with ex-offenders in the community
  • Work more closely with at risk gang youth
  • Collaborate with other organizations to provide services
  • Display the "Returning Home to Stay" on the DRC Web site
  • There is a need for more diversion programs
  • Improve pre-release life skills programming
  • Encourage family strengthening programming
  • Mind set shift with realization that ex-offenders and community resources supporting ex-offenders are assets
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Employment (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Create jobs for ex-offenders
  • Provide job coaching
  • Establish employment/business partnerships
  • Need funding for economic development that will create jobs for ex-offenders
  • Focus on jobs that provide wages someone can live on
  • Increase number of volunteer tutors to include job skills and coaches
  • Hire ex-offenders for reentry initiatives
  • Survey employers who hire formerly incarcerated persons
  • State government should take the stance to employers to make priority the hiring of ex-offenders
  • Provide on-going case management
  • Establish a mentorship for ex-offenders
  • Research what business/organizations will hire ex-offenders
Training (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Educate staff (security and programs)
  • Increase preparation and attention to detail that all levels of the organization understand
  • Leaders should set priorities for the organization
  • Leaders need to support the Chaplains
  • Train DYS/DRC leadership of importance of this initiative
  • Build positive relationships
  • Staff needs to be more open and responsive to the community
  • Display the positive actions the youth are involved in
  • Provide consistent business practices at the institution
  • Be more accepting that there are different types of relationships/family outside of the traditional marriage
  • Need strong commitment from the department
  • Provide hope and encourage relationships
  • Work with and train DRC and DYS wardens and superintendents regarding this initiative
  • Need true buy-in to treatment programs
  • Make community aware that faith-based services are available to inmates and parolees
  • Include inmates when evaluating needs
  • Provide passion and commitment
  • Provide manuals to volunteers that address issues such as who to go to for what, protocols, entrance procedures, etc.
  • Invite ex-offenders to Leadership Input forums
  • Work on a means to "highlight" success (PBS, Video, etc.)
  • Better training of officers involved with admissions
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Reentry (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Use more out-of-state resources
  • Compile a manual/listing of services available upon offender release
  • Assign Reentry Coordinators who are dedicated to the mission of reentry
  • Assist with transportation issues
  • Develop resource centers for ex-offenders
  • Provide information/funds on organizations/clubs to assist ex-offenders
  • Solicit community assistance prior to release
  • Faith based organizations need to be more receptive to the inmate once released--better transition from institution to community
  • Use term "reentry participant" vs. "ex-offender"
  • Give more of a voice to the inmates and ex-offender
  • Broaden the reentry management team
  • Make sure inmates have proper ID upon release
  • Establish an account that inmates can opt to pay into for services to inmates
  • There needs to be a community-based facility in Cuyahoga County to help keep families connected
  • Have paid mentors on staff at facilities with a history of criminal justice involvement
Legal (click to view specific recommendations)
  • Waive sanctions that prevent State employment
  • Look at alternatives to prison sentences
  • Lift legislative restrictions on legal aid serving inmates, identification issues, paperwork, and child support debt
  • Eliminate collateral sanctions that prevent employment opportunities for ex-offenders
  • Changes are needed for debt accrued via child support
  • Need more assistance from politicians/officials
Funding (click to view specific recommendations)
  • DRC and DYS to leverage funding for programs and services
  • Provide funding for services
  • Funding issues
  • More funds to support small programs
  • Need more funding and grants
Housing (click to view specific recommendations)
  • There is a great need for additional housing
  • Need multiple options for housing
  • Additional housing is needed for ex-offenders
  • Consider "group homes" for housing
  • Provide multiple options for housing
  • Provide more transitional housing
  • Provide linkage to service providers regarding transitional housing

Contact: Shelli Branch
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

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