Go Home to Stay Home - Planet Aid's Partnership with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

This story was covered by ABC Channel 5 News in Cleveland on June 29 and 30. See their full story here.

The following was originally publish by Planet Aid in December of 2017.

About three years ago, Planet Aid partnered with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Go Home to Stay Home program. The aim of the partnership is to help give inmates a hand in making a better life for themselves upon release.

Go Home to Stay Home was started by a current inmate at Grafton Correctional Institution, who knew how challenging life can be after prison. The program helps provide shoes, clothing, food vouchers, furniture vouchers, and more to inmates being released. "They only get a jumpsuit and a few dollars when they are released," said Kim Lipfird of Planet Aid's Ohio office, who is working with the program. "This program gives them more resources so they can go home and stay home."

After building the program and partnering with other organizations for a few years, the group learned about Planet Aid. "They liked our mission," Kim said, "and contacted us about partnering with Go Home to Stay Home." Kim was excited by this opportunity, and has since worked tirelessly to help grow the program. In April of this year, Kim and the group were given approval to add a community service component.

"The inmates usually have very heavy fines that need to be paid to the courts when they get out," Kim said. "Certain cities will take community service hours to reduce the amount owed."

Through the partnership with Planet Aid, inmates repaint and relabel weathered collection bins during their sentence to earn community service hours and reduce their fines. The decreased pressure of paying the fines once they are released allows inmates to focus on rehabilitation - finding a job and being able to use their income to support themselves.

Along with paying off fines, the partnership provides the inmates with job skills that they can use after release. "We've trained the inmates on how we want the boxes to be painted and labeled, and what we expect," Kim said. Some of the inmates in the program already have the required skills and are using their knowledge, with the opportunity of Planet Aid bin rehab, to teach other inmates those skills. "I've been to the prison multiple times and worked with a lot of the inmates," Kim said. "They are doing a great job and really appreciate the ability to reduce their fines."

Beyond helping the inmates pay fines and gain skills, Kim said, "The work gives them a sense of worth. I know these guys, and I know they want to do a good job."