Helping to Combat Recidivism in Columbus

Hope Bowden

Hope Bowden,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 10 April 2020

As a senior in ISE, we must complete a senior capstone project to apply the skills we’ve been learning over the past 4 years to a real life scenario. We have a semester to work with a company to complete an ISE-related problem they have at their company.

My group is working with MCS T.O.U.C.H. in Columbus. They work with former inmates to help them more easily transition back into life outside of prison. Their program helps clients find jobs as well as provides mentoring sessions to help with emotional issues they may be going through.

My project focuses on taking the data they have about their clients, such as race, age, gender, employment status, etc., to find a way to predict their likelihood of returning to jail. It is not what I thought I would be doing for my project when I entered into ISE, but it has been an eye-opening project. It has been interesting finding trends with simple things to see how it impacts someone’s decisions in life after prison.

Some pieces of information we found made sense, such as job loss leading to a higher risk. Other factors, such as zip code, were not expected. Considering the area codes that had high levels of recidivism were marked as relatively crime free areas, it was an interesting trend the group found within the data.

My group also had the chance to sit in on a peer-to-peer mentoring session to better understand the program. It was uplifting to see participants trying to lift each other up and push each other to be better people.

I have loved getting to use my skills to truly Create For Good. This program we are creating will be used to allow for the company to personalize their program and prevent recidivism in Franklin County, where the company focuses their efforts. Overall this was an incredible project to get to work on and I am glad I had a chance to work with a company that wanted to give back to others and help them succeed.

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