LIMA, Ohio — Lima Commissioners approved the acceptance of a $35,000 grant that will help fund a prison program to keep felony offenders local in order to give them a connection to their families as well as services to help them adjust to life outside of prison.
Sandra Monfort, a coordinator for the re-entry court, said that over the next two years the program will be operated through the Court of Common Pleas and would receive a total of $385,000 during that time. This is a $35,000 increase in the grant from previous years.
The grant will be given by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, who operates the state prison system. Clients for the program will come from the prison, the local WORTH Center, a treatment and rehabilitation center, and referrals from the court and jail.
There is not a set criterion for being in the program. The person just has to be a felony offender that the court believes will benefit from the program. All of the potential clients go before Judge David Cheney for what they call an accountability session. This session is usually an informal discussion between the judge and felony offender.
The program helps offenders get help after being released on parole. This includes services from counseling to finding employment.
Monfort said, “It gives people the chance to put their poor choices in the past.”
The money granted by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections will be used to expand and improve upon the program.