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Trump administration cuts millions in funding for halfway house program in Akron

Posted at 9:50 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-31 07:15:12-04

A halfway house in Akron will no longer be taking ex-inmates from federal prisons. The Trump administration has cut millions of dollars from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and as a result, the bureau has eliminated a program they fund in Akron.

There are a few men and women still left, but as of Tuesday they will be moved to the Cleveland facility at East 55th Street.

“There’s a change in philosophy and it doesn’t make sense to us,” said Bernie Rochford, the Oriana House Executive Vice President.

For more than two decades, federal inmates have gone from prison to the Akron Oriana halfway house.

But as of Tuesday, that program is defunct. The Trump administration has cut millions of dollars from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, causing the bureau to cut halfway house programs, like the one in Akron.

Rochford is concerned, because inmates that would have come to the Akron facility - those who are from Akron - will now go to Cleveland or Youngstown, where they likely won’t live when the program is complete.

“If you’re up in Cleveland and a lot of our clients don’t have transportation, you’re not going to be able to get that job and maintain it,” he said. “You’ll get the job maybe for a short period of time while you’re in the program in Cleveland but then you’re going to have to start all over when you get released.”

Also in an effort to save money, the Trump administration is cutting stays in halfway houses from 6-12 months to 30-60 days. This means instead of getting out earlier to spend time in a recovery house, inmates will be spending more time behind bars.

“If you’re going to keep people in prison longer, it doesn’t make sense,” said Rochford. “It doesn’t make sense for the community, because when people come through halfway house programs like ours, the research will show, assuming they get the right programming, they’re less likely to re-offend."

Oriana House administrators have been in contact with US representatives and both US Senators from Ohio, hoping they can put pressure on the Federal Bureau of Prisons to change where they’re making halfway house cuts. So far they have had no luck.