Research Spotlight: Dr. Paul Bellair

ODRC Strategies for Successful Reentry

Professor Paul Bellair to Study Close and Maximum Security Inmates in Ohio

by CJ Stover, CJRC undergraduate Newsletter Editor

Dr. Paul BellairDr. Paul Bellair, who is a Professor at the Ohio State University with an area of expertise in Crime Deviance and Social Control, will serve as the action researcher in the upcoming project facilitated by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC). Dr. Bellair, along with the ODRC, will attempt to address a major issue belonging to an underserved population of incarcerated individuals— Level 3 and Level 4 prisoners in Ohio.

If an inmate has been involved in violent, disruptive, predatory, or riotous actions, and/or are a threat to the security of the respective institutions, then they are designated as a Level 3 or 4 inmate. Due to the nature of the classification of Level 3 and 4 inmates, programming efforts, as well as, intervention methods generally trend toward managing the inmate’s behavior rather than true modification of behavior. Possibly an even greater risk, is the potential threat that these select inmates pose towards their parole supervisors. In fact, many inmates belonging to this subgroup, who are disproportionally younger adults, have a greater risk of failing to report to their respective parole supervisor. Therefore, due to the aforementioned reasons, these offenders receive less reentry services than the lower Level 1 and Level 2 inmates. To that end, the ODRC and Dr. Bellair will be working together to ultimately reduce the recidivism rate of this population.

In order to achieve this goal, Dr. Bellair will be one of the main contributors towards the Planning and Implementation Guide of this specific endeavor. The breakdown of the guide will be: a problem analysis, logic model, summary of strategies and intended outcomes, and research base for proposed strategies. He will also be producing a final analysis, conduct ongoing follow up interviews pre, post release, and at violation / revocation, and conduct ongoing research and analysis during the implementation phase of the project.

Dr. Bellair believes that reentry is not just simply reintegration to the community, but also begins at the time of the inmate’s admission and continues through the inmate’s release period to the culmination of successful reintegration. With more than fifteen years in academia and collecting and analyzing data, from the ODRC, about the operations of the correctional system, Dr. Bellair is more than qualified for this task. Previously, Dr. Bellair’s research has focused on the prisoner’s reentry into society and recidivism, more specifically, a focus on inter-relationships among prisoners’ social support networks, commitment to employment, family, and community, and the process of cognitive transformation towards a pro-social identity.

The project will begin with a target population of Level 3 and 4 inmates from Mansfield Correctional Institution (MANCI), Ross Correctional Institution (RCI), and Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF).