Hildebrand named warden at London Correctional

Jenny Hildebrand is the new warden at London Correctional Institution.

(Posted Nov. 2, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

One of Madison County’s own now heads up London Correctional Institution (LoCI).

On Oct. 10, Jenny Hildebrand took the helm as warden, replacing Norm Robinson. Hildebrand has lived in the county for 25 years, residing with her husband, Drew, on the Hildebrand family farm. In taking the job as warden at LoCI, she returns to what she considers to be her work home.

In her 32.5-year career with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), Hildebrand has worked at seven prisons, two of them twice, including LoCI and Madison Correctional, also in London. Her previous stint at LoCI, from December 1995 to May 1997, was as administrative assistant to Warden Melody Turner.

“It’s really good to be back,” she said. “London Correctional is a great place to work–the character and history of the facility, its place in the community, the variety of programs.”

Hildebrand plans to keep that legacy rolling, focusing on programming for offenders, recruitment and development of staff, and community service.

“We’ll work to increase educational opportunities and vocational programs, ensuring we have programs in place for offenders to receive good trainable job skills and prepare them for release,” she said.

She also wants to maintain and create programming for offenders who will not be returning to society. Of the 1,975 offenders currently residing at LoCI, 465 are serving life terms.

“We want them to have opportunities, too, to make sure that everyone’s needs are holistically met with our population,” she said.

Similarly, Hildebrand prioritizes looking after her staff.

“I’ve always had a passion for programming and also development of staff. I feel strongly about mentoring,” she said.

LoCI is experiencing a significant vacancy rate in corrections officers and other positions at the prison, including medical care. Recruitment is a big push now.

“For me, DRC has been a great career,” Hildebrand said. “I always tell people, it’s like our own little world. There are so many avenues you can take–business, medical, mental health, security, food service, education, administration. The sky’s the limit of the diverse positions you can go into with DRC. I’ve been fortunate with my career. I’ve loved every single one of my jobs.”

Hildebrand got her start in the field as a pre-trial release officer in Kentucky after graduating from Eastern Kentucky University in 1987 with a degree in corrections and administration of justice. Her first job with ODRC was as a correction officer at the Franklin Pre-Release Center in Columbus. She said the job set the foundation for what has become her life’s work.

Over the past three decades, Hildebrand has worked in all facets of corrections, from security and unit management to mental health, accreditation, and business administration. She has worked with male and female offenders at all security levels. Prior to taking the reins at LoCI, she headed up the Franklin Medical Center, a 500-bed facility in Columbus for incarcerated adults.

One of the many highlights of Hildebrand’s career is her involvement in energy, conservation and sustainability efforts across the state’s corrections system. She developed a sustainability plan to save energy, increase efficiency, and increase recycling and conservation efforts, establishing partnerships with the Columbus Zoo, Department of Wildlife and others, as well as developing offender programming related to the effort. She was the first female chief of ODRC’s Bureau of Construction, Activation, Maintenance and Sustainability.

As she begins this new chapter in career, Hildebrand is focusing not only on how to make things better for offenders and staffers, but also for the surrounding community. Her goal is to build on the service projects LoCI can do to benefit others outside the prison’s boundaries.

Over the years, LoCI offenders have made flashcards for school students, created backdrops for school plays, and cleaned and repaired used, donated toys for Christmas outreach programs, among other service projects. The Pets Uniting People Program (PUPP) at LoCI is an especially successful service program through which offenders train rescue dogs.

“We want to work with local schools, churches, and other groups to perform community service,” Hildebrand said. “I look forward to giving back to the community that I live in.”

For more information or to make a community service request, call the warden’s office at (740) 852-2454.

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