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JUNE 2022

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Damascus Founders, Todd and Christine Marallen, celebrate the accomplishments of Team Damascus with staff

Damascus Team members take their significant talent to the kickball field

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 Celebrates Seven Years!

The Damascus team hit the seven-year mark last month and the only itch is to expand what is possible for men and women returning home from incarceration.

Since 2015, Damascus has worked inside seven Ohio prisons and a dozen halfway houses and sober living facilities; graduated over 400 individuals from release reentry programming; placed over 4,000 men and women with felony records into permanent employment; built a transportation fleet; and weathered a two-year pandemic that has left much of the world scratching its head over what the new normal will be. As Damascus researches what is possible in reentry housing, the needle continues to move in Ohio on innovative reentry solutions. 

"Truly, Damascus is just getting started," said Chief Strategy Officer, Christine Marallen. "With grace and grit, we'll continue to change the narrative on what's possible."

Mike Carr, Damascus Director of Sales and Operations, educates attendees at an employment event in SW Ohio

Mike Carr (right), along with representatives from other local organizations, discusses employment at a Leadership Ohio event

Click here to learn more about the Damascus Mission

Damascus Participates in Employment Panel

When talented individuals from around the state gather to learn and trade ideas, Damascus is excited to be at the table. 

Leadership Ohio is an organization that brings together "both experienced leaders and high-potential individuals who believe in the power of public, private, and civic innovation, and have a passion to serve the Great State of Ohio." ( To that end, one of the events held for this year's class included a panel discussion on "fair-chance hiring." Damascus was invited to participate by Cincinnati's Beacon of Hope Program Manager, Rayshun Holt.

Damascus Director of Sales and Operations, Mike Carr, joined the panel and explained his "why" for contributing his talent to the reentry field.

"The work we do at Damascus has proven results, and my own story reminds me why the Damascus Model works and why our vision to scale the organization is so important," he said.

A successful corporate businessman for many years, Mike spent two years inside an Ohio prison following an accident where he was driving impaired. Mike has recently celebrated 10 years of sobriety.

"I know what it means to start again," he said. "Employment is just one piece of our mission, but the impact (Damascus) has made in placing over 4,200 workers into jobs, plus all our other pieces, is exciting to share with people."

Audience members had questions about employment, Damascus Village, and the criteria Damascus uses to select participants in its prison reentry classes. Mike provided answers and invited the audience to continue the discussion outside the event, his passion for reentry and Damascus evident.

"What we do at Damascus is a winning combination," he said. "I'm excited about telling everyone about it. "

Damascus Provides Workers Opportunities to Advance

While employment is simply one piece of successful reentry, the opportunity to return to the workforce post-incarceration remains an essential marker in stability for individuals and families.

The Damascus Reentry Model includes dozens of employment partners throughout SW and Central Ohio--with plans to add more in northern Ohio this year.  While many employers in the current economy have opened their doors to individuals with felony backgrounds, success lies in understanding the barriers that men and women face and walking alongside them as they navigate them--the crux and expertise of the Damascus Team.

Damascus employment includes these components:

  • Committed workforce partners that provide permanent, full-time positions to multiple Damascus workers after a 90- to 180-day period.
  • Weekly paychecks at hourly rates above market average.
  • Damascus Client Reps who accompany workers on the first day of work, communicate throughout the week with both the workers and the employment partner, and troubleshoot any personal or workplace issues.
  • Free transportation between worksite and various points in the region.
  • Opportunity to start over when necessary.

More information about Damascus employment is available at

Click here for more information about Damascus Workforce Solutions.

Damascus Reentry Class Graduate, Al Ward (right), works with multiple Damascus Client Reps to determine the best employment opportunity for his current life situation

Damascus worker, James Albaugh, celebrates his successful completion of Forklift Safety Training at Nissen Chemitec in London, Ohio

Todd and Christine Marallen swap reentry wisdom with Brandon Chrostowski, founder of Edwins Restaurant and Leadership Institute

Damascus Visits With Cleveland Reentry Organizations

In an effort to both learn the good work of other organizations throughout the state and explore expansion opportunities, Damascus team members travelled from Cincinnati to Cleveland this month to meet with a number of northern Ohio organizations.

"It has been our mission from the beginning to create scalable solutions to reentry," said Damascus CEO, Todd Marallen. "One way to do that is to talk to others who share our goal of innovation and excellence."

A leader in providing opportunities post-incarceration, Brandon Chrostowski--founder of Edwins Restaurant and Leadership Institute--provided Todd and Christine Marallen a look inside daily operations at his bakery and butcher shop, as well as the housing he has created for students and graduates of his culinary operations. Brandon's sage advice mirrors one of the mantras Damascus currently operates within: Just do what you do. Don't get hung up on what others say can't be done.

Damascus met with multiple other organizations, including Reach Success, a Cleveland-based organization that is run by Executive Director Janet Cooper and President/CEO Bill Horning. Reach Success's impactful approaches to community, career, and education pave the way for their goals to expand their reentry reach. Bill's story includes incarceration and with that, a desire he currently lives out to be part of the change for others returning home. Additionally, Damascus strategized with Tom Johnston, the founder of reentry initiatives MyHuntPath and ZeroBack, and current Managing Director of global talent advisory firm ZRG Partners.

As Damascus expands its mission throughout Ohio, team members look forward to collaborating with other like-minded organizations. To be part of the discussion, email


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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Be Part of the Impact!

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