London Correctional Institution (LoCI) has a new warden.
Jeff Noble, 51, of Washington C.H., was promoted to warden upon the retirement of warden Terry Tibbals. Noble took the reins of the 92-year-old facility July 24.
Noble is familiar with LoCI as he has been deputy warden since 2007. He is well acquainted with the 387 employees under his command, who are in charge of some 2,400 inmates with in the institution’s confines.
Noble has been in the corrections industry since he was 22, when he began as a corrections officer at Pickaway Corrections Institution. In his undergraduate days at Ohio University he majored in criminal justice.
Noble has worked at three institutions within the Ohio Department of Corrections, including Pickaway, Madison Correctional Institution and LoCI. During that time he earned a master’s degree in political science.
Noble believes in the programs offered to inmates within LoCI to have the power to prepare an incarcerated person for transition back to society.
“We perform a public service,” said Noble from daylight bathed office in the main building. “We have an opportunity to change people’s behavior. That’s our goal. We have an opportunity to adjust behaviors and when he goes back to society, he goes back a better person.”
Some of that behavior adjustment includes a recovery program to help the inmate with an addictive behavior. The goal is to get the inmate in recovery from alcohol and/or drug addiction.
Noble said there is also a program, “an intensive treatment program for mental illness.”
It helps the inmate to not only to adjust to living in incarceration, but also to assimilate to living in the community.
Part of that assimilation is having an employable skill upon returning to society. To that end, Noble touts LoCI’s educational programs which include, but are not limited to, a stationery engineer operator’s program to learn operation of a power plant, or a program to operate a water treatment plant.
There is also course instruction in learning HVAC service and auto repair.
Noble spoke proudly of the barber school, run by Betty Crawford.
“Guys always pass their boards (exam),” he said. “She’s passionate about it.”
Noble said he wants LoCI to continue to be a good partner with London and the remainder of Madison County.
“We have nothing to hide (from the community),” he said. “We don’t want to have (anything to hide).”
Internally, Noble strives to continue to improve its inmate treatment program.
Regarding the sale of the agricultural land surrounding the facility, Noble said, “it’s still in the process of being worked out,” he said. “We’re looking at other opportunities for its facilities”
He declined comment on the status of the newly-built dairy barns.
Improvements to the primary structure include tuck pointing all the exterior brick work as well as installing a new roof..
A room inside the structure is being retrofitted to create a chapel. There are upgrades in progress on the fence as well as on the water treatment plant and the wastewater treatment plant.
While there are no more community service crews, Noble pointed out the inmates repaired the lawn chairs used at the London Municipal Pool and the inmates are preparing educational materials for schools with children in need in the Crayons to Computers program.
Noble had an opportunity to visit a prison in Moldova in 2013. Moldova is a tiny, eastern European country tucked between Ukraine and Romania.
He noticed an absence of air conditioning in its buildings and that each unit was autonomous.
“We’re more uniform than they are,” he said. “We’re more advanced in classification and in use of computers.”
“They’re friendly people,” he said. “The staff was educated and qualified.”
Noble lives with his wife of 28 years in Washington Court House. They have two children. His hobby is politics and is a student of history.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.