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For women in prison, kitchen offers a new chance

September 13, 2018, Allison Steele - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Next week the restaurant trades program at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy will graduate its first class of students. Though there has been a culinary academy for male inmates in state prisons since 2003, until this year women only had access to home economics courses through the state corrections system.

(Women at SCI Muncy - ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ, Philly Inquirer)

The new 13-week program, designed to mirror the men's, is a formalized, rigorous course where students learn weights and measurements, recipe conversions, cooking techniques, sauces, baking — even cake decorating. Each student leaves with a nationally accredited certificate in food handling that is good for five years and which they can present to future employers.

"We want them to succeed on the outside, and obviously this teaches them a trade," said Wheeler, a 24-year veteran of the department of corrections who formerly supervised Muncy's kitchen staff. "But this also benefits their home lives. Cooking is a life skill they can pass on to future generations."

Read more about the program here!

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