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Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Prisoner Community Service

Address

770 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43222

Phone

614-752-1736

Email:

Brian.Niceswanger@odrc.state.oh.us

DRC’s community service program was started in 1991 by Director Wilkinson in support of the Department’s "good neighbor pledge." The Office of Prisons monitors and supports the development of productive partnerships with non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools and charitable groups throughout the state of Ohio with confirmed 501C3 not-for-profit tax status.

The community service program allows inmates an opportunity to give back to the community while at the same time supporting the Department’s restorative justice initiative of making a contribution to society. The program alleviates boredom and tension in prison, resulting in a safer environment for both staff and inmates. Safer prisons help establish a sense of security within Ohio communities and give offenders a sense of pride and accomplishment as they provide needed services to various organizations throughout the state.

Community Service supports a variety of partnerships including training and caring for puppies and dogs for programs that assist the physically and visually impaired; assisting Habitat for Humanity build homes for low to moderate income families; donating fresh vegetables grown at Ohio prisons to food banks and shelters; making sleep mats for the homeless; recording books on tape for schools; and serving approximately 200 teachers per day through Crayons to Computers, a free store for teachers. Since 1991, when the program was introduced, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction inmates have provided over 110 million community service hours to Ohio’s communities. For additional information regarding the Community Service program, please contact the Office of Prisons at 614-752-1736. For inmate community service projects in your area, please click here.  Information is listed on each institution's Web page.

1. How long has community service been in place?

The community service program was established in 1991. Ohio’s inmates contributed 75,550 community service hours in that first year. In 2011, inmates contributed over 5 million hours. More than 110 million hours have been contributed since the program began.

2. Does the program threaten taxpayers’ jobs?

No. The work is performed for non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools and charities that cannot afford the cost of labor. However, community partners who qualify are asked to cover the cost of the materials.

 
3. What is the Pilot Dog Program and when did the partnership begin?

The Pilot Dog Program helps visually impaired clients in Ohio and as far away as Russia, Israel, Canada and Mexico. Pilot Dog Inc. is an organization that provides free guide dogs to the visually impaired.

 
4.  What other dog programs does the Department support?
  • Circle Tail Program - trains the Abash, a Turkish working dog (service dog)
  • Pilot Puppies - six-month-old puppies are raised and trained to assist the physically impaired.
  • Save Our Strays - Socializes stray dogs for home placement
  • Humane Society - Animals socialized as companion dogs, pets for the elderly and home placement
  • Golden Endings - Abused and neglected dogs socialized for adoption
  • Canine Companions - Trains service, assisted service and facility dogs for placement with people with disabilities
  • Team Greyhound - Socializes retired racing dogs for adoption
  • Tender Loving Care - Trained to assist the physically, mentally and/or visually impaired
5.  What types of projects have you completed?

Inmates have constructed playgrounds and installed them on-site for area schools; participated in several federally-sponsored home construction programs for low-to-moderate income families; completed restoration work for the Ohio Historical Society to help school children get the opportunity to learn about their history; and maintained hiking trails in the Wayne National Forest.

6.  How can I create a community service partnership with DRC?

Complete a Community Service Application (DRC 4261), and attach the appropriate tax-exempt form(s)--501(c)(3). Applicants will be notified about their application status within a week upon receipt. After the project is finished, customers will be asked to please complete the Customer Satisfaction Survey (DRC 4295). The information provided will be used to improve or maintain customer service.

 
7.  Do you train dogs for private owners?

We only train dogs for organizations with a tax-exempt status.


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