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JULY 2022

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Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Delivers IMPACT AWARD to Damascus Partner

Damascus is a 501(c)(3) prison, reentry and staffing organization headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Your contribution is tax-deductible. It also changes the world.


Damascus staff is joined at Pioneer by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation Director, Annette Chambers-Smith (third from left) and Assistant Director, Stuart Hudson (right)

To recognize and celebrate the employment opportunities made available in SW Ohio by the partnership between Damascus and Pioneer Cladding and Glazing, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Director Annette Chambers-Smith and Assistant Director Stuart Hudson presented an Ohio IMPACT AWARD last month

Pioneer, a Damascus employment partner in Mason, Ohio, has provided work opportunities to nearly 700 individuals since 2016. Each of those individuals had a felony background--as well as a Damascus Client Rep and the pathway to permanent, full-time employment available to them. 

ODRC Director Chambers-Smith and Assistant Director Hudson shared their experiences working with employers around the state, as well as their appreciation for businesses such as Pioneer.

"Thank you for being the first place of employment for so many of our people," Director Chambers-Smith told the Pioneer and Damascus team members gathered. She outlined her history with the state department, which began in 1993 in a clerical role "back when there were typewriters." She shared how she was excited to return to Ohio as the Director and have an impact on corrections throughout the state; the drop in recidivism in Ohio and the focus on the care of both staff and those in custody point to that impact. Director Chambers-Smith also discussed the work she and others on her team do to meet with employers in Ohio to encourage them to offer more opportunities like Pioneer has, noting that many people returning from incarceration still need a first chance to succeed in life.

"We would like to see more partners in Ohio like Pioneer, like Damascus," said Assistant Director Stu Hudson.

Pioneer department leads asked questions regarding the opioid crisis and how that has impacted crime and recidivism in Ohio. Pioneer Team Lead Ben Ellis shared his own experience working with Damascus workers.

"I didn't know what to expect at first," he said. "Now I know these guys are normal, trying to get back on their feet. I've met some good guys over the years."

David Hensley, Pioneer's Safety Specialist, has been instrumental in the partnership and accepted the IMPACT AWARD on the company's behalf. He lauded his own team for their commitment to the process and the Damascus team for their role in the success.

"There hasn't been one person (Damascus) sent who has shown up to work over the years without one of the Damascus people with them," David said. "That's not true with anybody else we work with."

Click here for more information about Damascus Workforce solutions. 

The Ohio IMPACT AWARD presented by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to Pioneer Cladding and Glazing in Mason, Ohio

ODRC Director, Annette Chambers-Smith, shares her corrections experience and philosophy with Pioneer and Damascus staff

Director Chambers-Smith provides IMPACT AWARD to Pioneer Safety Specialist, David Hensley

Damascus workers share their experiences with the ODRC Director, Annette Chambers-Smith, and Assistant Director, Stuart Hudson

As a Damascus Client Rep, Tim Shimrock meets weekly with Damascus workers at the job site

Damascus Client Rep Reports for Active Duty in the Middle East

At the heart of the Damascus mission is service. With that tenet in mind Damascus says thank you and goodbye this month to Client Rep Tim Shimrock--also known as Captain Shimrock in the 2-107th Calvary Regiment, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shimrock's unit deploys later in 2022 to the Middle East as part of Operation Inherent Resolve

Tim has been a Damascus Client Rep since 2019, a role that includes building relationships with individuals as they are leaving incarceration and placing them into full-time employment. Client Reps meet weekly with Damascus workers, employment partners and are available to problem solve 24/7.

As a member of the Ohio National Guard, Tim will be a battle captain in the Middle East, running operations for the mission on the base and keeping the commander briefed on what has happened and what they anticipate will happen next. He is looking forward to the mission and the next chapter.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "I'll miss working with the (Damascus) men and women and the relationships with the halfway houses and our employment partners. I'm glad I got the opportunity to be part of the ripple effect and to see so many success stories working with Damascus."

Tim conveyed the intersection between his experience as a baseball coach over the years, a Damascus Client Rep for the last three years, and the role he'll have overseas.

"Leadership requires organization, accountability, the ability to empathize and the energy to fully commit," he said. "At Damascus, I tell the (workers), "I show up everyday, you show up everyday.""

Tim said he'll miss the work, the professional friendships and watching people get on their feet and provide for their families. But he welcomes the military task ahead: to protect domestic freedom.

"It's what I wanted to do as a kid and I'm excited to go," he said. "There are terrorist organizations in the world but we're handling it over there so we don't have to handle it here."


River City Correctional Provides Damascus Curriculum to Residents

Expanding a partnership begun in 2015, River City Correctional Executive Director, Scott McVey, added Damascus Reentry Curriculum to the site's programming. A 10-week class that infuses trauma knowledge, choices and accountability, and employment/life readiness, the Damascus Reentry Class has been a welcome addition for the residents.

"Trauma-informed care tells us that our behavior is based on experience," Scott said. "If we can understand the trauma that we have had, then we can make better decisions." 

Located in Camp Washington, near downtown Cincinnati, River City is a Community Based Correctional Facility, a detention center of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction that is managed by Hamilton County. Its capacity is 200+ individuals, 75% men and all with felony records. In addition to pre-release programming, Damascus works with River City to place individuals into employment while they are still incarcerated. 

"The whole idea of River City is to educate the residents," Scott said. "More education about themselves, about getting and keeping a job, about getting clean, and being responsible. That gives them a better opportunity to be a better citizen which is what we ALL want them to be." 

River City residents complete homework about their trauma and goals for the future

Click here for more information about Damascus Correctional Programming

As the new Executive Director, Scott McVey brings to River City a montage of experience that includes work in the courts, community-based care, and developmental disabilities. He understands the value in approaching corrections at its root, the basis for Damascus Reentry curriculum.

"Programming like Damascus gives (residents) the knowledge that they're not broken," Scott said. "What's happened to them in the past does not have to identify what happens to them in the future. It's going to allow them to break that chain with their own family. To learn about themselves and decide: I don't want to do that to my kids."

Damascus Participates in the Coffee & Conversation Virtual Business Discussion

Damascus Director of Sales and Operations, Mike Carr, shared his "why" and the various components of the Damascus Reentry Model at the July Coffee & Conversation hosted by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Coffee & Conversation is a "relaxed virtual meeting where we will discuss the featured topic or any other questions you may have." The Chamber staff consistently mine the community for relevant individuals, organizations, and efforts that positively impact the region. By creating a forum for discussion, the networking and resources base continues to grow in SW Ohio. 

To view the Damascus Coffee & Conversation, click here.


CEO Todd Marallen & CSO Christine Marallen

Mission and Vision

Our Mission

To be the standard bearer in unconventional, scalable and sustainable solutions in incarceration, reentry, and the workforce in order to elevate individuals, communities, corporations and the country.

Our Vision

To solve an expansive and expensive social problem and permanently change the narrative about incarceration and reentry in the United States.

Click Here to Learn More about Damascus
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