State prisons director Gary Mohr has approved the first three inmates for a program meant to help ex-cons find work. The program provides information to employers about an inmate's employability. Mohr says it's designed to reduce Ohio's prison population in part by reducing recidivism.
GM: The intent is to improve the quality of life in our prisons, to create safer systems, and to promote pro-social behavior. So, improve the quality of life, and the safety, and the opportunity to be successful upon release. And what we know is that a vast, vast, well over 95% of our population is going to be released to society anyway. And I want to be a director who's responsible for helping people change their lives and create less victims of crime out in our communities.
Mohr says it's just one part of a system-wide reform.
GM: Our pyramid based on Madlow's hierarchy of needs where we're creating safer environments, where we're plugging the community in, where we're bringing in the reentry coalitions to help 'transist' people from prison to community. I think that all of that in its entirety will make an overarching difference. I think our metrics which are going to be basically reduced recidivism will tell the story and I believe that everything that we're doing is going to continue to develop solid numbers that will reduce crime going on in Ohio by the people that we touch. And I think if that's the case, it will be strong enough. If I think if our overall program, for some reason, has flaws in it, then it won't. But I think this element is just part of a bigger program that will make Ohio safer.
The three prisoners were convicted of crimes ranging from voluntary manslaughter to aggravated murder. They are within a year of a parole hearing. Inmates with good behavior who have completed vocational programs, earned high school diplomas and performed at least 120 hours of community service, among other activities, are eligible.