Training penitential criminals in new professions is always a good idea, though this program taking people straight from prison and essentially giving them legal access to home and property, as reported in the Columbus Dispatch, may not be; unless there is long-term on-site work supervision as part of the program.
“MARYSVILLE, Ohio — Caprice Moore used to see the world as a closed door.
“The 29-year-old mother of three said she got straight A’s in high school — when she went.
“But the South Linden resident got involved with the wrong crowd, she said, and made bad decisions. That’s how she ended up in front of a Franklin County judge in 2010 for the second time in two years on assault charges. And that’s how she ended up behind a double row of chain-link fence and razor wire in the oldest women’s prison in the state.
“But Moore, who’s serving the last year of a three-year prison sentence at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, said that all she sees today is opportunity. Moore is one of 55 women enrolled in a first-of-its kind education and job-skills program at the prison that’s training inmates to make homes more weather-tight and energy-efficient.
“The program aims to reduce recidivism among female inmates by giving them certification in a viable career. It is funded by a nearly $750,000 federal grant awarded to the Franklin County Reentry Task Force.
“The task force is working with the prison in part because most of the women who go through the program will return to Franklin County when they’re released. Once home, they’ll receive one-on-one mentoring, housing assistance and a six-week internship with a company where they can use the training they got in prison.
“Kysten Palmore, the county’s re-entry coordinator, said the women also will earn 15 college credits, taking courses on topics such as financial literacy, energy efficiency and “green” technology. The training leads to certification in weatherization, lead abatement and workplace safety.
“These are the things that will allow them to get in the door” and get a job, Palmore said.
“During a recent class, the women learned how to build a gypsum-board box around recessed lighting fixtures to prevent air loss into an attic, and how to spot a shoddy home-heating installation. Every book lesson is followed by an opportunity to put what they’ve learned into practice.”