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Trying to Interrupt the Cycle of Drug Crimes and Drug Behavior in Ross County

Wayne McLaughlin and Pat Friel explain how the Ross County Re-Entry Coalition works to help those returning to society after drug offenses.

Ross County — The “Re-Entry Coalition” spoke with the Ross County Commissioners Monday. Their mission is basically to help Ross County residents to avoid re-offending after being released from drug-related incarceration.

The Reverend Wayne McLaughlin chairs the coalition of organizations, and recently retired Dr. Pat Friel is the program manager. They explained their efforts to me after speaking with the commissioners about expanding a new program to stop or prevent drug addiction after re-entry to society.

That is a third component they are adding to their original two efforts at post-incarceration assistance. First, they offer a “safety net” when inmates are released, like food and shelter. Second, they help them find a job.

McLaughlin says the Ross County Sheriff is also struggling with increased numbers of people in jail instead of state prison for drug-related crimes, and they are there for longer sentences.

And McLaughlin pointed out that the children of those jailed for drug crimes suffer greatly – with almost 400 Ross County children age 0 to 18 who have an incarcerated parent. Those children are traumatized by the drug crimes and behaviors, as well as other bad examples and lack of parenting – and even arrests and busts that disrupt them in whatever home environment they have.

A program the Re-Entry Coalition offers to help with that is SKIP, “Supporting Kids and Incarcerated Parents.” So far, it has limited funding, and McLaughlin said they will be asking the Commissioners for more funding…to hopefully help reduce their spending.

One of the responsibilities of the Ross County Commissioners is to fund the county’s Juvenile Detention, and McLaughlin says the Re-Entry Coalition’s assistance may reduce that cost by discouraging future bad behavior.

Hear McLaughlin and Friel explain more in the interview video.

The Re-Entry Coalition has a website and Facebook page.

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Raised in Ross County, Bearcat class of '87 at Paint Valley. Wrote a column on history and historic preservation for the Chillicothe Gazette right out of high school, then a bachelors in Journalism in the OU class of '91. After starting my one-man company "Intrepid Heritage Services" in Columbus in 1997 to offer historical research, tours, and talks, I retuned to Ross County in 2003. Have been working as a radio programmer and reporter at Clear Channel / iHeart Media Southern Ohio. Started working with the Scioto Post June 27th, 2023.