STAR Community Justice Center of Franklin Furnace have moved operations into the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility (ORV). The move comes with increased responsibility, programs and staff.
Officials with STAR Community Justice Center say the move occurred last week. To make of occasion an open house of the facility has been scheduled for Monday, April 4 at 1 p.m. The open house is open to the community and will have opportunities for tours of the facilities.
J.T. Holt, Deputy Director of STAR said with the move STAR became the largest community based correctional facility in the state.
In their previous facility they served nine counties. With the new facility they will serve 19 counties.
“We’re very excited about the investment and the faith the state is putting in us, to be a leader in community corrections in the state and in the nation,” Holt said.
With the expanded space Holt said STAR will be able to, house more than 300 male and female residents.
The former facility, located next to ORV, housed roughly 170 people with a four month waiting list.
“There’s such a huge need down here and that’s why the state has felt comfortable investing in us,” Holt said.
With the expanded space also came the hiring of additional staff.
“In the last six months we’ve likely hired 40 plus people and that’s going to go up. We’re up to about, 115 employees now, this time last year we’re in the 70’s,” Holt said. “With our future plans of reopening our former facility, the amount of staff will only rise.”
Holt said with the additional space there will also be a number of programs offered to residents. Programs offered are designed to help them get a job once released.
“A big thing we able to do now is we have an aftercare/reentry program. We will send STAR employees to follow up (with former STAR residents) for six months, following the release in their home county. They are meeting with them, help them to find work and doing sessions with them to make sure they stay on the right track,” Holt said.
He said with the expanded space they are able to offer a vocational department.
“We’re offering a residential electric program for males. When they’re released from STAR they will have a 300 hour certificate from Collin’s Career Center,” Holt said. “We’ll have a maintenance program where they (residents) will get certified in operating forklifts and have a 10 hour OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Card and a national certification called CMI. Bigger companies like GE or Ohio State will not hire someone in their maintenance department without that (CMI Certification).”
For females, STAR will be providing a business, technology and consumer service 300 hour program with Collin’s Career Center.
“We’re hiring an instructor from Collin’s to come down and be here five days a week to teach,” Holt said.
He said other programs include offering the opportunity to obtain a Servsafe Certification, to work in the fast food industry.
When asked how these new programs compare to programs offered at the former facility Holt said, “It’s on a much larger scale.”
STAR will occupy nearly the entire ORV facility. The former Liberation Unit on the camps is being received for Lawrence County to establish a jail inside of.
“The opportunities (with the new facility) are so much bigger. We have a fully functional school now,” Holt said.
For more information about STAR Community Justice Center visit starjc.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT