Successful Returning Citizens Mentoring Support Groups in Lancaster

on Monday - September 08, 2014.

The Lancaster County RMO, in partnership with Bridge to Community, is launching Successful Returning Citizens Mentoring Support Groups in Lancaster, starting Sept 17, 2014.

These groups are for any returning citizen looking for encouragement, positive role models and information on resources and strategies to help them become successful, productive citizens in the community.

The groups are led by highly successful returning citizens who understand both the challenges of having a criminal record AND the positive pathways to success in overcoming those challenges.

Every Wednesday (starting Sept 17, 2014)
7:00pm – 8:30pm
@ Ebenezer Church
701 North Lime St
Lancaster, PA 17603
(corner of Lime & New)

These groups are based on a highly successful model that started in Harrisburg about 5 years ago. An independent evaluation of these groups found that participants who attended at least 16 weekly sessions have a 96% SUCCESS RATE (only a 4% chance of recidivism/returning to prison) The PA Board of Probation & Parole endorses these groups and has advocated for launching these groups in every county in Pennsylvania. We're delighted to now be offering them in Lancaster.

Click here for a flyer for the Lancaster groups.

 

New National Report on Fines, Costs, Restitution Proposes Solutions to "Debt Penalty"

on Friday - September 05, 2014.

Researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research & Evaluation Center have just published an in-depth report titled "The Debt Penalty: Exposing the Financial Barriers to Offender Reintegration." The report explores the various types of fines, fees, restitution and other financial obligations placed on offenders, the purposes of these obligations, the various approaches employed to collect on these debts, reasons offenders don't pay, the penalties associated with non-payment, the hidden costs to both the legal system and offenders of common debt collection practices, and the effects of criminal debt, including a variety of consequences related to employment, education, housing and other aspects of life for offenders upon release from incarceration.  

The report also explores connections between criminal debt and recidivism.

The report provides statistics and information from various states around the US (including some from Pennsylvania)

The report then proposes a variety of solutions that criminal justice entities can employ to "increase the likelihood of payment whil lessening the financial burden on offenders." These solutions include improved practices for setting fee amounts, prioritization of fees, tracking debt, improving restitution collection, improving child suppport collection, processes for offenders to "earn back" their eligibility for certain types of public assistance, and alternatives to incarceration for non-payment.

An executive summary is available at: 

http://www.justicefellowship.org/sites/default/files/The%20Debt%20Penalty_Executive%20Summary_Justice%20Fellowship.pdf

The full, 20-page report is available here:

http://justicefellowship.org/sites/default/files/The%20Debt%20Penalty_John%20Jay_August%202014.pdf 

Traumatic Childhood Experiences Linked to Adult Addictions, Mental Illness and Crime - Part 2

on Tuesday - July 01, 2014.

As mentioned in the previous article on trauma, ACEs and links to crime, addiction, and mental illness, various studies have found that early psychological trauma may actually cause lasting changes in the brain that are connected with addictions, mental illness and aggressive or violent behavior later in life.

What do these changes in the brain actually look like? The Family Policy Council of Washington State created a presentation on "The High Cost of Adverse Childhood Experiences." Here are a few of the slides from that presentation that explain the changes in the chemical and physical development of the brain ("Biological Effects of Abuse & Neglect") that occur with various traumatic experiences during childhood...

Traumatic Childhood Experiences Linked to Adult Addictions, Mental Illness and Crime

on Monday - June 30, 2014.

Traumatic Childhood Experiences Linked to Adult Addictions, Mental Illness and Crime

The subject of childhood trauma (often measured as "Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)") and links to substance abuse, mental illness and crime has been getting a lot of attention in the professional criminal justice, mental health and addictions literature over the past few years. In this series of articles, we'll explain ACEs, look at definitions of "trauma", examine some of the relevant research, and what corrections, mental health and addictions professionals need to know.

WHAT ARE "ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES" (ACEs)?

Adverse Childhood Experiences are when children experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse, emotional or physical neglect, loss of a parent due to separation, divorce, incarceration, abandonment or death; substance abuse and addiction within the family/household, family dysfunction; depression, mental illness or suicide within the family or household, incarceration of any family/household member, or witnessing violence against their mother or stepmother. 

Faith leaders grapple with big questions about crime, restorative justice and the role of congregations

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Friday - June 27, 2014.

Faith leaders grapple with big questions about crime, restorative justice and the role of congregations

How do crime and the criminal justice system impact victims, offenders, their families and the whole community?

How do shame and stigma prevent us from talking about and addressing the resulting harms?

Are we afraid of those in prison or who have been in prison? What are we afraid of and why?

How do we, as a community, move beyond shame and fear to create a culture of safety and support, and to offer restoration and healing to all those who need it?

These were a few of the challenging questions a group of faith leaders from around Lancaster County grappled with at a recent Healing Communities training in Lancaster . . .