Convicted abusers speak out about violence

Convicted abusers speak out about violence
Convicted abusers speak out about violence
Posted at 4:05 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 18:59:29-04

Convicted abusers currently serving time in an Ohio regional jail are speaking out about violent behavior, what triggers it and how to change as part of a unique domestic violence counseling program.

Sherry Phillips is a licensed counselor who launched the program operated by the Corrections Center for Northwest Ohio.

Domestic violence offenders voluntarily take part in classes that cover the cycle of violence, effects on children, characteristics of a healthy versus unhealthy relationship and relapse prevention techniques.

"I give them the tools, but you're the one's who are going to bend over and pick them up," Phillips said, referencing offenders who are hoping to change behavior.

Thomas McGuire is among four domestic violence offenders who have taken responsibility for their actions and are willing to openly talk about their behavior in the hope of reaching out to others.

"I've learned a lot," said McGuire. "To think before I do, to learn more about people and  their boundaries--to communicate more instead of just bundling all this inside."

Jeffrey Harris is another offender who said the program is helping him deal with anger.

"I probably should have just walked away," Harris said. "There are lots of things I learned in this class that have just opened my eyes up that I didn't even realize I was doing."

Charles Hicks is 55 and admits that "I have never been able to control anger."

"But now that I have been in this program, this short time," said Hicks, "I realize it's not always the other person--it's something inside me that's making me snap."

Jason Thor is serving time for violating a protection order and said that "the program makes you accept responsibility but also provides you with knowing what your boundaries are."

Phillips said the program also offers follow counseling after offenders leave that also reduces the likelihood of re-offending.