Essential Programming Helps Residents Gain Confidence, Necessary Skills for Life

“I think programming and providing someone with skills and something better to do than being a criminal is the only way the guys will leave better. They need to realize they can do something better. That they can do something successful that isn’t going to bring them back to prison.”

Robert Tebelman is a resident at the North Central Correctional Complex in Marion, OH. When asked about the facility’s programming, Robert said it has encouraged him to use his time more wisely.

“It helps me to – it keeps me busy. It gives me something to focus on besides – because you can focus on your time, you can focus on what’s annoying, you can focus on the things you don’t like, but it’s not going to get you anywhere, it’s not going to change any of those things that you don’t like, so it gives you something else to focus on.”

STILLS Robert Tebelman
Robert Tebelman, resident.

The programming at North Central helps men like Robert overcome their challenges and become a better version of themselves.

“In order to kind of work against that, you have to find something to replace it with.   You can’t just come in here and say you’re going to stop being – if whatever problem you had, whether it was drugs you had a problem with, anger, whatever it was, you have to find a way to replace that with something better because you don’t just stop doing the negative thing and then fill your time with what? Because if you’re just laying there on your rack watching TV, you’re just going to fall into what’s familiar, so you’ve got to find a way to build something positive.”

Robert is currently an academic clerk at the facility and acts as a mentor for a few of the facility’s programs, such as Stephen R. Covey’s course “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

“…And they just give you a lot of opportunities to do something positive with your time. And when you take those opportunities, then those opportunities are there if you find them, but it just gives you something to focus on besides your time.”

STILLS Robert Tebelman
Robert Tebelman, resident.

Robert feels North Central’s programs are valuable for residents at the facility.

“…But for those guys – some people really do want to do something better. But maybe they come from a place where they don’t know what better looks like. People don’t realize their own potential. Some guys will get into GED classes or get into the Solutions classes and not realize how good they are at some of those things. And they’ll get really excited…everybody comes from a different background. Some people have never had a recognized achievement and realize that feels as good as getting away with something. They realize ‘I can get that same feeling for something with no repercussion.’ It just makes sense to offer those opportunities.”