Ohio Governor Mike DeWine included additional millions of dollars in the 2024-2025 state budget presented to the Ohio General Assembly so that even more can be done to help individuals coming out of prison to reintegrate into society.
For fiscal year 2024, DeWine requested $2.3 billion in funds to operate the Ohio Department of Corrections, a 7.9 percent increase from 2023.
The additional request is for spending $46 million on educational services for inmates in 2024 and another $51 million in 2025.
The governor said that the prisons will use the money to impart the knowledge and abilities required to help meet the state’s present labor needs to inmates close to release.
According to DeWine, 18,000 inmates in the Ohio prison system are set to be released this year. The governor said that this educational funding is necessary to help released individuals find real stability and become productive members of society.
“They are coming back into society. We want them to find a job, to get back to their families, to have a place to live, to get some real stability in their lives, and to become productive members of society,” he said.
DeWine and Lt. Governor John Husted, along with the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, have also unveiled a job training program for inmates close to release to help with Ohio’s unemployment rates and to help inmates succeed upon release.
Husted said that right now, the state of Ohio has more jobs than people to fill them, and prisoners on the verge of release can help fill these positions.
“If you went to Ohiomeansjobs.com today you would see that there are 164k jobs available and we have fewer than 50k people on unemployment in Ohio. One of my jobs is to help find people to fill those jobs,” Husted said.
In the first program, inmates will train for the position of telecommunications tower technician.
Inmates close within 12 months of release will be screened for interest and then will participate in 250 hours of training three days a week. Once the training is complete, they will go through a supervised work release program so they can earn some money for the remainder of their duration in prison so when they leave, they can go do these jobs that they trained for and have a positive impact on society.
Eight inmates from the Richland Correctional Institution are the first class, determined to succeed.
“If we can have more people succeed and fewer people come back to prison number one that’s going to save the state of Ohio an awful lot of money. Number two they will have a chance to do what we want for all Ohioans for them to be able to live up to their God-given potential. You can’t do that very well from behind bars. This program is a win for everyone,” Gov. DeWine said.
To help those who complete training find jobs, the state is collaborating with partners like AT&T and its contractors.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine.