The Cincinnati Hamilton County Office of Reentry offers programs to assist returning citizens to become self-sufficient.
Approximately 1900 people are released from the Cincinnati Hamilton County Justice Department, and more than 4000 people are released from the Ohio Department of Corrections each year. For these nearly 6000 persons returning to their communities, access to resources that establish self-sufficiency, such as education, employment, housing, and healthcare can be extremely challenging.
The Hamilton County Office of Reentry (HCOR) was established to save taxpayers’ dollars, increase public safety and reduce re-offending by connecting returning citizens to resources. Recidivism rates in Ohio (or Hamilton County) remained at 33% for the better part of the past 3 years.
On average, it cost taxpayers about $13,000 a year to house just one person at the Hamilton County Justice Center. What is more, the unemployment rate in Southwest Ohio remains at record lows. To reduce the costs of incarceration and offer solutions to workforce shortages in Hamilton County and first-ring suburbs, HCOR is looking to help transition more men and women from the life of imprisonment to self-sufficiency.
Evidence-based re-entry policies and programs that were enacted in Hamilton County have improved outcomes for people released from prison and significant reductions in returns to prison from parole. These programs are most effective when initiated before the person’s release from the correctional facility; however, HCOR re-entry coordinators have also had many successes in working with persons who receive support and counseling post-release.
HCOR now leads several programs and offers a variety of services to persons both pre- and post-release.
The Hamilton County Justice Center Reentry Pod connects vetted inmates to community resources before their release from Hamilton County Jail. Programming includes the Cognitive Behavior Intervention Curriculum which addresses issues such as criminal thinking and behaviors, conflict resolution, morals, values, behavior modification as well as a manhood/parenting component and faith-based mentoring.
HCOR also supports the Alternative Interventions for Women (AIW), a program led by Court Clinic for female offenders in Hamilton County that offers those with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders intervention and treatment to reduce reoffending. In collaboration with the Court Clinic Program and corrections officers, HCOR engagement instills hope, teaches life skills and connects program participants to community resources.
HCOR prepares women for sustainable careers after incarceration through a partnership with River City Correctional, Cincinnati State Community College, Beacon of Hope and Cincinnati works. Funding for this project comes from public and private sources: PNC Foundation and Ohio Jobs and Family Services. Selected inmates of the River City Women’s Correctional Facility attend a series of supply chain classes developed by Cincinnati State College, earn a certificate of completion and receive an offer for an entry-level position at Nehemiah Manufacturing.
According to the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, economic research suggests that Ohio is losing $2 billion GDP annually because otherwise qualified workers are excluded by over-restrictive criminal-record-based barriers.” Returning citizens are the answer to the skilled labor shortage.
For more information about the Hamilton County Office of Reentry, or to learn how someone who is incarcerated can apply for pre-release programs and to schedule a meeting with a re-entry coordinator, call 513-946-4304 between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Their office is located at 138 East Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202, Room #101.
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