Inmates learn skills to prevent return to jail - Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Inmates learn skills to prevent return to jail

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Findlay, Ohio -

Randy Harmon has a couple of goals for when he is released from the Hancock County Jail.

"Getting a job and getting my own place," said Harmon.

 Part of that goal is to not return to jail.

So Harmon and several other inmates at the jail are taking part in a five week program to practice the skills they'll need when they get out . The jail is partnering with the University of

Findlay on the program to reduce the number of inmates who return.

"If we can reduce recidivism, we can reduce crime in the county.  So, it's a win-win for everybody," said Lt. Ryan Kidwell, jail administrator.

Occupational therapy graduate students from the University of Findlay facilitate the program. This week the students are having fun and playing games.  Other weeks focus on skills such as getting and keeping a job. The program began earlier this year, but the group facilitator is already encouraged by some success stories.

"The one individual has secured employment.  He's made a lot of changes," said Tara, UF graduate student.  (Because of jail policy, we're only using the first names of the university's volunteers.)

After completing the classes, the participants will be given a certificate of completion-- proof that they took initiative while locked up.

Harmon finds similarities between taking part in the group sessions and getting a job.  Things like having a set schedule and working with others.

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