Keeping Communities Safe through Education and Empowerment

OSU Extension goes beyond the walls to keep communities safe and restored citizens productive!

With most offender reentry programs, an ultimate goal is to reduce the recidivism rate. According to the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), in the U.S. over 600,000 individuals are released from prisons and jails each year. It is estimated that over two-thirds are re-incarcerated within three years.

Franklin County has the third highest population of ex-offenders being released from incarceration in the state of Ohio. Equally important and cause for concern is the increasing number of individuals returning to neighborhoods and communities throughout the country.

Not surprisingly, re-entering society poses numerous financial challenges, from paying for housing, food, transportation, and health care to finding a job, establishing credit, and paying off debts. Indeed, much of re-entry success depends on one’s ability to manage money. Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of newly freed individuals aren’t well prepared to make smart money decisions on their own, especially if they have long been under the control of others, lack basic resources and financial skills!

One of the keys to successful reintegration of these individuals returning to neighborhoods and communities has been and will continue to be Financial Education, thereby helping them gain control of their finances and future! Towards this end, OSU Extension’s Community/Economic Development (CED) team has not only served on the Franklin County Reentry Task Force/ Employment and Education Subcommittee, but has also made monthly visits to Franklin County Correctional Center and the Ohio Department of Youth Services to teach Personal Finance to adult and youth offenders respectively.

OSU Extension strives to improve the quality of life among ALL central Ohio residents through research, service and training. To learn more about OSU Extension and how to make a difference in  your community, visit: or contact Susan Colbert (, Program Director for Expansion and Engagement, Franklin County and Heart of Ohio EERA.