MAKING A difference. It’s a statement that is appropriate in all walks of society.

But in the realm of rehabilitating convicts, it is of paramount importance.

The Eastern Ohio Correctional Center is not just making a difference, but rather it is helping to save lives. EOCC houses convicted male felons from several Eastern Ohio counties.

At any given time, the facility will have between 60-80 inmates. It has proven to be a much more conducive route of rehabilitation than penitentiaries.

Those incarcerated are provided a diverse course load. Program offerings include: Anger management, Men’s Drug Abuse Treatment, Family Issues, Intense Relapse Prevention, Zero Tolerance, Victim Issues, Money Management Employment Skills, Adult Basic Education, Continuing Education and Computer Lab.

EOCC has also implemented a work release initiative where eligible residents can become employed while in the program to help pay off court costs. The facility also has community service and transitioning-to-home programs as well as weekly non-denominational religious services and a Bible study group.

Eugene Gallo is the executive director of the EOCC and has been since the center opened in May of 1990. He knows the center and all that goes with it inside and out. He says the EOCC, “works directly with the court system.”

Gallo and his EOCC employees have developed a recipe for success. The facility has consistently received quality reviews from the state.

Moreover, its recidivism (repeat offender) rates are exceptional. EOCC features a 21 percent rate. That is some 15 percent lower that the state norm.

Considering the number of individuals involved, those numbers reflect a sparkling of success story being written at EOCC.

The EOCC mission statement is as follows:

“Our purpose is to improve the quality of life in our community by reducing the risk of criminal behavior. As a sentencing option, we provide adult offenders a safe secure environment to enable change in their lives through a structured program of education, treatment and community service. We hold ourselves accountable to our principles of integrity, compassion, fairness and professionalism.”

The mission statement is both appropriate and proving effective.