Corrections center inmates are turning their lives around

Nearly 70 percent of the men who serve their time at the NorthWest Community Corrections Center do not
become repeat offenders, trustees of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce were told last week.
Kelly Burden, clinical director, and Michael Crawford, work industry coordinator, provided the monthly
Business Climate Report for trustees at the Nov. 6 meeting.
Burden said the recidivism rate is 31 percent at the center, which serves Wood, Henry, Defiance, Williams
and Fulton counties. The center can house 64 inmates and takes only those convicted of lower level
The average recidivism rate among 16 similar units statewide is 36 percent.
"This is a most cost-effective system that provides day-long programming," Burden said.
"We have a small staff that is very committed to rehabilitating offenders to help them become
better fathers, sons and parents."
She said more than 3,000 violent and property crimes were committed in Wood County in 2007.
Crawford said the center is one of the few that has a work industry component. The work industry is
attached to the Wood County Justice Center.
"We provide labor-intensive projects designed to instill a work ethic during a six-month
He explained that workers learn how to interact with supervision and when out on a job receive at least
minimum wage.
"We had six sites but now with the economy we have just one. Employers are always apprehensive but
we have had very limited problems."
In addition to basic job skills and responsibility, inmates also have the opportunity to learn how to
operate a fork lift. Crawford is a certified fork lift operator and teaches a course monthly.
"We’re looking for projects. We’re looking for sites," he said.
"They do a great job," said chamber trustee Bruce Stevens. An attorney, Stevens said he has had
clients serve their time at the center and has seen the benefits.