Welcome Home For Life Network (WH4LN) President Jeff Daniels detailed the network’s 72-Hour Pack program Wednesday during this month’s Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition meeting. Daniels said it is an inside and outside prison program that mentors people on the inside and continues a mentoring and support program through the organization’s network on the outside.
Daniels said the primary partners for the program are the Shawnee Valley District Reentry Offices (SVD) and community organizations. He said the program calls the person returning to the community a “Traveler” and those guiding them through the process “Guides.” He said the relationship between the two starts while the Traveler is still inside, but that it doesn’t end when they get outside.
“To me the mentoring is absolutely critical,” Daniels said. “I see so many re-entry committees and county re-entry programs basically doing a little bit of preparation on the inside and then doing some hand-waving on the outside. They call it pointing. Well, if you need this, go to this place. If you need that, go to that place. Well, you gotta do more than that. You have to really walk with them and because they really don’t know their way around.”
The program is specifically in the Chillicothe Correctional Institute, Daniels said, which houses people across the state. But thanks to the program’s partnership with SVD, it has started to intensify its focus in the SVD, which includes Highland County.
He said another part of the program is the 72-Hour Pack the Traveler receives when they leave. Daniels said the pack includes items such as hygiene, toiletries, correctly sized clothing, snacks and a phone without a camera for halfway houses. He said the packs are around $200 to $250.
Dr. Derek Russell, pastor of Hillsboro United Methodist Church, said the churches partnered with the program are expected to pay half the price of one of the packs and then the other half is paid by the program through funding at the district level.
Daniels said the people served by the program are those that:
* Participated in ODRC Life Builders groups led by WH4LN, UM members and others.
* Were referred by prison chaplains or a re-entry coordinator.
* Participated in re-entry planning prior to release.
* Are under Adult Parole Authority’s (APA) supervision in a sanctioned halfway house or without any family support indicated on a re-entry plan.
* Are returning to Adams, Brown, Fayette, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross and Scioto counties not under the APA’s supervision.
“I always say this statement,” James “Battle Tested” Clay, a restored citizen and Healing Communities trainer, said during the meeting. “We don’t help people that need help, we help people who want help, and there’s a difference. The need is always going to be there, but most of the men and women that sign up for programs and things like this, they want to change. There’s a change of heart and there’s hope on the other end of that change.”
Creed Culbreath, president of the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition, said the county has been inundated with requests from Highland County residents on how they can help someone leaving prison transition back to society.
In other news, Culbreath gave an update on the Highland County Quick Response Team. He said the organization continues to see people primarily in person, and that it offers recovery options as well as connection to a therapeutic provider. Culbreath also said the organization is talking to other QRTs in the area about “unified work” that could extend the capabilities in all the counties. He said the first of those meetings will be this week.
The next Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition meeting will be on Wednesday, June 23 from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.