Program provides released inmates with job training to reduce recidivism

CLEVELAND - John Wesley Ware spent 41 years in prison for his involvement in an aggravated murder and robbery in Lake County.

"I broke the law, I was involved in a crime that had to do with a person losing his life and I regret every minute of it," Ware said. "I tried to do every thing I could to make amends for the part that I played in it."

Now that he is released from prison, he is continuing to do what he can to make a positive difference on your streets.

Thanks to a program called Zero Back, Ware doesn't have to it alone. He has a support system, helping him with his career goals and helping him stay on track.

Zero Back is founded by Tom Johnston, a Cleveland businessman.

"We are going into prisons, helping people identify a career path, versus a job, and then working within the system to them as much training, education, and apprenticeships to get them employed upon release," Johnston said.

Zero Back helped Ware and hundreds of other inmates focus and find the right career.

"My passion is training dogs, which I do part time," Ware said. He is also working at a local hotel. He said God and the Zero Back program made it possible for him to succeed.

He got out of prison last year, and now has his own car and apartment.

Johnston is hoping to help even more inmates and has recently testified before the Senate Finance Committee hoping to additional funding so he can expand the program to five Ohio prisons.

"If they don't go back to prison, they are setting examples for their family," Johnston said. "We are trying to break the cycle and instead of taking tax dollars, they are contributing taxes through employment."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.