“Programs like this must be part of our approach to criminal justice. We must show offenders that there are other choices than returning to crime once they are released from prison,” said Fallin. “This Habitat for Humanity program teaches inmates important skills, while benefitting an organization that works to provide much-needed homes for low-income residents.”
The COHFH Inmate Program is a Department of Corrections (DOC) Prisoners Public Work Program (PPWP), which allows inmates assigned to community corrections centers and community work centers to learn a skill or trade outside of the facility.
The PPWP crews are contracted through state agencies, which work with local organizations.
For the COHFH project, approximately 10 inmates work seven hours a day, five days a week at a warehouse onsite constructing components used to build homes.
Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the program is beneficial and is allowing inmates to get the opportunity to do more with their lives once they leave custody.
“Working with the Department of Human Services to give inmates an opportunity to learn a skill or trade to better the community is a win-win,” said Allbaugh. “Inmates who leave custody with a skill are more likely to find a job or career and are less likely to end up back in state custody. I appreciate the governor’s support, also the support of Central Oklahoma Habitat, and the Department of Human Services for giving these men an opportunity.”
Warehouse and Logistics Manager Mike Brown, who oversees the program at COHFH, says the inmates’ work is vital for the organization to accomplish the mission of building new homes for Oklahomans in need, and gives inmates an opportunity to earn money, and turn a skill into a career.
“We have been giving inmates opportunities some have never had before,” said Brown. “When they leave the program they have helped not only themselves but also people in need.”
About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged. For more information, visit staging.cohfh.org or call 405-232-4828.
About Clara Waters Community Corrections Center
Clara Waters Community Corrections Center is a community treatment center in Oklahoma City that houses inmates who are transitioning out of prison. The maximum capacity at Clara Waters is 292 inmates. While incarcerated there, offenders can earn a GED and receive substance abuse treatment through a 4-month program. Its transitional program is a 100 hours program that is offered to inmates, who are within 60 days of discharge, or are within 60 days of work release eligibility. The goals of the transitional program are to provide inmates with a foundation to obtain employment, improve their confidence in dealing with daily life, and to help inmates re-establish themselves into society.