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Philadelphia Furniture Bank Seeks Applicants for Transitional Employment Program

Openings in the Transitional Employment Program The Philadelphia Furniture Bank has several openings in our Transitional Employment Program. These are paid, part-time opportunities for people who have been out of the workforce for several reasons and need extra support in transitioning back to work. If you have clients that might benefit please email your contact information and their resume to PFB Director Tom Maroon.

Pennsylvania Has Seen a Steady Decline in Crime Rate over Last 20 Years

CRIMELINES A 20 Year Story of Crime and Incarceration A new infographic from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections illustrates crime trends from 1998 to 2018 and shows how the overall crime rate has changed against the backdrop of different gubernatorial administrations, the openings and closings of prison facilities, and the passage of a variety of criminal justice reforms, including Justice Reinvestment legislation. Crime rates in Pennsylvania have consistently dropped over the past twenty years, by 45 percent. Further, crime rates in Pennsylvania have remained consistently lower than the national crime rates. These crime drops have happened within the context of a variety of events o

The Atlantic Publishes Article on Pregnant Women in Custody and Reentry

Doulas at the County Jail Women in jail typically have limited prenatal support and return to custody soon after giving birth. One Chicago program is testing a different approach. Sarah Conway - 12/20/19 Inside a tier reserved for pregnant women in Chicago’s Cook County Jail, a doula said to a group of six round-bellied women sitting at a metal table, “Tell me, who has had an epidural before?” A few hands darted into the air. The doula, Lanise Washington, asked what has to happen before someone can receive an epidural. “There’s an IV,” someone offered. “Don’t move when they do it!” a second woman added. A third young woman, clearly confused, said, “It’s like a spinal tap, right?” Finally, a

Pennsylvania House to Act on Justice Reforms

Leaders in the PA House of Representatives announced the chamber will take up a bipartisan package of bills to reform Pennsylvania’s probation and parole system, to reduce recidivism and to help formerly incarcerated individuals find jobs that will help them avoid some of the pitfalls that keep many in the state’s penal system. “People who break our laws need to be held accountable, but we also understand we must continue to address the root causes of crime. Reforming our probation system will help those released into our communities have a better opportunity to rebuild their lives,” House Republican Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said. “This is an important way we are working to

PRC Highlighted in Mayor Kenney's Reflections on First Term

Criminal Justice Reform: Restoring Equity to a Broken System MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge The first year of the Mayor’s term, 2016, brought a landmark announcement: Philadelphia became the largest grant award recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge, receiving $3.5 million to reduce Philadelphia’s jail population by 34 percent over three years. The funding helped jumpstart transformational change in the City’s criminal justice system. The Kenney administration and its partners — the First Judicial District, District Attorney, Defender Association, Police Department, Department of Prisons, and Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual d

Gov. Wolf Signs Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reinvestment Initiative Bills

Marc Levy - December 18, 2019 Pennsylvania enacted a new law Wednesday that is designed to limit the stays of lower-risk offenders in prison in its latest effort to reduce the state’s prison population and to stop first-time offenders from becoming repeat offenders. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, signed the two-bill package shortly after the Republican-controlled Senate approved the bills. The GOP-controlled House did the same Tuesday. Key provisions involve getting shorter-sentence offenders onto parole faster and helping get more lower-risk offenders into programs that are shown to lower recidivism. In some ways, the legislation was a continuing effort by the state to undo the effect of laws p

New America Releases Report on the Need for Increased Education and Job Training Programs for Return

New America has released a report that seeks to facilitate conversations around the potential of correctional post secondary education and/or job training programs as tools to mitigate the gap in skills and employment challenges for justice-involved individuals. In preparing individuals for reentry, it is important to understand whether those who are currently incarcerated have the necessary education and skills to obtain employment and what types of correctional programming could help them achieve economic success upon reentry. This report analyzes the 2012/2014 U.S. PIAAC Household Survey and Prison Survey, which are the only existing representative data on adults’ skills in relationship t

Dr. Banfield, Executive Director of Redemption Housing, Authors Article on Fostering Spiritual Resil

The process of reentry for formerly incarcerated persons can be a burdensome, stigma-laden transition, and any difficult transition requires resilience. African Americans—the group most impacted by incarceration trauma—commonly depend on faith leaders in times of crisis to provide meaning, encouragement, and guidance, fostering spiritual resilience. This study conceptualizes spiritual resilience and proposes it as a vital quality for successful reentry; giving credence to the significant role clergy and pastoral clinicians play in mediating restorative reintegration. To read the full report, click here. If you have concerns about purchasing the report, please contact Dr. Lori Banfield at lor

Eastern State Penitentiary Hiring Specialist, Institutional Giving

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is currently accepting applications for a Specialist, Institutional Giving in its Advancement Department. Reporting to the Director of Institutional Giving, the Specialist, Institutional Giving will support the grants strategy for annual operations, restricted programs, strategic initiatives, and capital projects. Duties include assisting with the preparation of letters of inquiry, grant applications, grant reports, grant attachments, corporate partnership proposals and presentations, stewardship reports, and other related grant correspondence. Participation in special events during evenings and weekends may be required. This position works with senio

Community Legal Services Seeks Staff Attorney for Language Access and Immigrant Advocacy Unit

CLS is seeking a staff attorney to support and further advocacy issues that impact low-income immigrant and Limited English Proficient communities. This includes issues that affect their access to benefits, courts, government agencies, systems, and services. This new staff attorney will work collaboratively and potentially supervise one other staff attorney who is also working part-time to support this advocacy. This position entails becoming an expert in language access law and working with advocates across all Units at CLS, and with external partners, to help identify issues Limited English Proficient persons face, and provide strategic and significant support to move advocacy relating t

Community Legal Services Seeks Staff Attorney for Family Advocacy Unit

Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia is seeking an attorney in its Family Advocacy Unit (FAU). CLS is one of the leading legal services programs in the country. This exciting and demanding position combines courtroom representation of individual parents with systems and policy advocacy to improve outcomes for vulnerable families in the child welfare system. This position will entail significant courtroom advocacy with a heavy focus on high-quality client representation. Lawyers in the FAU zealously represent parents involved with the Philadelphia child welfare system in their effort to maintain or regain custody of their children. The FAU uses an interdisciplinary team model to p

New Study from Rutgers Links Reintegration Barriers to Poor Physical and Mental Health

Formerly incarcerated individuals with barriers to re-entry and service needs following their release are subsequently more likely to experience poor physical and mental health, according to an eye-opening new Rutgers University-Camden study. Daniel Semenza and Nathan Link, assistant professors of criminal justice at Rutgers-Camden, analyzed data on recently incarcerated men from the Serious and Violent Offender Re-entry Initiative (SVORI) to examine how multiple barriers to reintegration related to employment, housing, childcare, and service needs accumulate to influence physical and mental health three, nine, and 15 months after release. The study, published in the journal Social Science &

Philadelphia Works Partnering with Lyft to Help People Get to Work

Darryl C Murphy - December 6, 2019 Ride-hailing company Lyft wants to improve job access by providing transportation to job-hunters. The company recently launched its Jobs Access Program in Philadelphia by collaborating with Philadelphia Works, a non-profit workforce development organization, to help those transitioning into employment. The program will issue 300 ride credits worth $10 each for clients of Philly Works looking to secure employment or training that may be too far for public transportation. The credits will expire at the end of February, and the organization will evaluate the impact of the program. “We’re always looking for ways in which we can increase access to people in need

Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth Seeks Partners for Community Prosperity Initiative

The Community Prosperity Initiative is a national social justice strategy aimed at supporting the human dignity and full reintegration of people who were initially sentenced as children to life in prison and who are now returning to their communities. This initiative is a partnership between the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY), the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), which is a project of the CFSY, and diverse partners to provide the resources and services necessary for people who are returning home, and their families and neighborhoods, to thrive. Specifically, through a growing network of private and public collaborations, this initiative will: Provide opportu

Prison Policy Initiative Release Findings on Neglect of Pregnant Women in Prisons

Prisons Neglect Pregnant Women In Their Healthcare Policies This past August, released surveillance footage showed 26-year-old Diana Sanchez alerting Denver County Jail deputies and medical staff that she was in labor just hours before she gave birth to her son, alone in her cell. With her pleas ignored by staff, Sanchez was forced to give birth without any medical aid or assistance. Her experience is not isolated, as a number of reports by women in prisons and jails across the country have revealed a similar disregard for pregnant women’s basic needs. What’s more, the documentation of pregnancies and pregnancy care is sparse, sometimes anecdotal, and rarely generalizable on a national level

District Attorney's Office Launches Diversion Program Intended to Incentivize Addiction Treatmen

Samantha Melamed - December 3, 2019 Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has long argued that people should not be incarcerated for drug addiction. Now he’s putting that philosophy into action. His office has quietly launched an interim version of an unprecedented “diversion” program, in which prosecutors simply withdraw charges for those who show proof they’re in drug treatment. “We’re on the cusp of sending every single case involving mere possession of drugs to diversion,” Krasner said in an interview. “We want to get people into treatment to get at underlying problems to stop criminal behavior. This is what all experts are telling us is the better way to go about this ... under a

Pennsylvania Changed a Law Suspending Driver’s Licenses, But It Won’t Help Thousands Still Banned fr

Justine McDaniel - November 29, 2019 Every time Chelsey Sirmons got arrested, the date he could legally drive again moved further out of reach. None of his crimes had to do with driving or cars: They were drug charges, such as possessing paraphernalia. But under Pennsylvania law, that meant an automatic license suspension. Sirmons has been out of prison and in sober recovery for almost five years. He’s a certified recovery specialist in Pittsburgh and runs workshops for families dealing with substance abuse. He’s studying to earn a degree in social work. But his string of misdemeanor convictions extended his driver’s license suspension. It’s not scheduled to end until 2026. Sirmons is one of

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