VOA debuts new residential treatment facility in Mansfield – Where did the money come from?

 Hmmm? РWhere does a non-profit get money for this?.

VOA debuts new residential treatment facility in Mansfield – Where did the money come from?

MANSFIELD — The director of Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio said the organization wants to be a good neighbor.

Phil Nunes was among the speakers at Thursday’s open house at the new facility on Ohio 13, across from Mansfield Correctional Institution, on the city’s far north side.

“It gets us away from the downtown corridor,” he said.

Residents will move in July 9.

The VOA will close its halfway house on North Main Street, which was a source of controversy because of its proximity to downtown and the Carrousel District.

A community corrections program, the VOA treats male sex offenders and people with substance abuse issues.

“Some people still today have a tough time with community corrections,” said Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “We deal with folks who a lot of people don’t want to deal with.”

Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese said such work is vital.

“We’re in a different era, where the focus is on changing inmate behavior,” he said. “If our goal is really safety, changing behavior should be our long-term focus.”

The judge said the VOA has always honored its commitment to have 75 percent of its sex offenders come from Richland County, surrounding counties or counties that are too small to have their own facility. He said the local facility is not a dumping ground for sex offenders from big cities.

Nunes said there were 18,000 inmates in Ohio in 1984. That number has grown to almost 50,000.

“So as you can see, we cannot think we can lock up all of society,” Nunes said. “We have to deal with this as a community, which is where community corrections comes in.”

Nunes said the VOA is an alternative to costly incarceration.

An 18,000-square-foot facility is housed on one floor to enhance the line of sight and maximize security. It was designed by MKC and Associates Inc. The Adena Corp. Inc. was the contractor, with the state providing funding.

“As I look at this building, I realize it is going to serve a great capacity in the coming future,” Mayor Tim Theaker said.

Twitter: @MNJCaudill

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