Grant expands probation offerings

After receiving part of a more than $975,000 grant in November, CROSSWAEH is now able to offer a cognitive behavior treatment program for probationers in Seneca County.

Jason Varney, vice president of correctional programs in Seneca County for Oriana House’s CROSSWAEH facility, said the $977,000 grant was awarded by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to the Fremont Municipal Court and the city of Fremont, and then contracted with the Oriana House to implement and operate the program.

Counties covered by the grant include Seneca, Sandusky, Ottawa and Huron counties, Varney said.

The program, called Northwest Ohio Behavior and Reporting Services (NOBARS) includes several services, all geared at reducing recidivism. Those services include drug testing, electronic monitoring, program and case management, anger management, substance abuse treatment and employment referral services. While many of those services are offered just in Fremont, those on probation in Seneca County from municipal or common pleas courts can drive to Fremont to receive the services, Varney said.

Right now, only one service is offered in Seneca County. That service is called “Thinking for a Change,” which was developed by the National Institute of Corrections.

The service entails a group session that meets twice a week to work on cognitive restructuring, social skills development and development of solving skills, Varney said. Several of those groups are active in Huron County, but a group has yet to start in Tiffin, he said.

Varney said the group sessions are beneficial to offenders because it helps them change behavior, problem solve and link their thoughts and behaviors. The program also is beneficial for the community because it reduces recidivism and keeps offenders out of jail and on the streets as successful, working tax payers.

“Anytime you can offer a program that will reduce recidivism, it is a win-win for the community and the offender,” Varney said.