On Friday, April 14, 2017, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and Director Gary Mohr recognized nine Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) employees who received the Governor’s Award for Employee Excellence. The team was recognized for creating and expanding of the HOPE (Helping Ohio Prisoners Excel) Channel – a resident produced television channel providing inmates with skills and training in writing, filming, editing and producing video content in a variety of settings via advanced computer applications. The nomination of the DRC team was accompanied by several testimonial letters from partner agencies in northeast Ohio, citing among positive aspects “their tireless efforts to accomplish the goal of reducing recidivism through resident-generated television.” Broadcasts are delivered seven days a week to all offenders throughout the northeast region's six prisons. Expansion plans are underway to include more institutions with a goal to reach all Ohio prisons.
An exciting new venture, HOPE University, will augment reentry programming on the original HOPE Channel with content that promotes learning new concepts, skills and thinking, particularly for those inmates who are not yet preparing to be released. HOPE University will offer such content over two mediums – television and an on line learning management system via tablets. By reaching residents through these modern means, DRC is improving its ability to deliver on the mission set forth by Director Gary Mohr to “reduce recidivism among those we touch.”
Together, HOPE Channel and HOPE University will engage residents with content that keeps them connected to the world outside the walls of their current confinement. Oversight of the expanded HOPE operation is vested with an Advisory Board with representatives from all stakeholder groups – DRC staff, academia, community partners, and current and former inmate team members. The members provide input on areas such as mission, strategic plan, proposed programming, and other areas as determined by this group.
HOPE Channel content is produced by resident teams at Grafton Reintegration Center, Northeast Reintegration Center and Lake Erie Correctional Institution. The resident team members at these institutions participate in an 8000 hour apprenticeship program in video editing. Additional hours are required in related instruction. Resident team members at Trumbull Correctional Institution provide additional videography to be edited at the full-service locations. With the help of our Advisory Board and other institutional and community partners, opportunities for apprenticeships in video editing, videography and graphic arts training will expand to other locations.
Northeast Regional Director - Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction