The Journey Home

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Tackling the Issue in Northampton County, PA

Together with Landis Director and Prison Board member Dr. Bonnie Winfield, Amanda Pisetzner spent the summer of 2008 designing and implementing Northampton County Correction Facility’s first Reentry Program, The Journey Home. Following the summer research, Dr. Winfield and Amanda presented their program at the Association for Research on Mothering Conference in Toronto, Canada. During the summer, Amanda worked in the jail alongside female inmates to assess their needs, both while in jail and after. The perceived needs of the inmates were addressed with direct information in the form of a resource manual and emotional or creative support through in-house programs. These programs included Book Club, Life Stories, and Art Therapy. To help manage and run these weekly programs, Amanda recruited over 30 community volunteers to help see the programs through completion. Active prison volunteer, Ashley Juavinett, along with Amanda, showed the compassion and attention that these individuals so desperately needed. Already, the combination of these programs and the post-incarceration support is changing lives.

The Vision for Santa Cruz, CA

As seen by the example of Northampton County, the structure of The Journey Home program is an effective and viable way to address the needs of incarcerated women. We therefore hope to utilize the basic models and principles of this program while working with the inmates at Santa Cruz County Jail. This program will utilize aspects of The Journey Home including needs assessment workshops, resource guide compilation, and in-house programming, but will also expand to include a sustainable online community to help meet their support requirements after their release. Other projects and programs will be implemented based on the different interests and needs of the current inmates. Similar programs at other jails have cited reduced recidivism rates by over 60 percent.

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