Hot off the Press: Stories of Success

on Friday - October 07, 2016.

Hot off the press, our 2016 RMO Annual Report highlights the impact we're having in the community, by providing Resources, Mentoring and Opportunities to people being released from incarceration back into our neighborhoods, so they can be productive, contributing members of the community. Please be sure to check it out here. 

UPDATED: PA Legislature passes Medical Assistance suspension instead of termination for inmates

on Wednesday - June 29, 2016.

UPDATE: 7/8/2016: Governor Wolf has signed into law a new measure that will SUSPEND Medicaid (Medical Assistance) benefits rather than terminating them for anyone who is going to be incarcerated for 2 years or less. This will be a tremendous benefit to any of the more than 6000 people who go into Lancaster County Prison every year who are on Medical Assistance, as they will have immediate access to healthcare benefits upon their release.

For an article explaining more about this legislation, see 


(this article was written by our RMO summer intern, Gabriel Anthony-Kemp)

For quite some time persons reentering into society have been plagued with unjust and seemingly inescapable hardships. Among these hardships is access to affordable and effective medical help. Similar to mainstream society, many returning citizens struggle with addiction and have mental health complications, but because of their status or situation coming out of incarceration, they don't have the same access that another citizen would. Recently, there has been nationwide movement in changing Medicaid programs so that returning citizens will be able to utilize their services. Potentially, Medicaid is a source that would assist those reentering in supporting addiction and mental health needs.

As a new article by the Council of State Governments explains, "As states across the country adopt changes in their Medicaid programs, people who were previously ineligible for coverage have become eligible, including a significant number of people involved with the criminal justice system." 

In Pennsylvania, the legislature is considering Senate Bill 1279 that would suspend Medical Assistance (Medicaid) benefits while someone is incarcerated, rather than terminating these benefits. If passed, this change would make a significant difference to the large numbers of people in our prisons and jails who suffer from addiction and mental health concerns, as they would no longer have to re-apply for Medical Assistance upon their release from incarceration and then wait for coverage. The bill is currently sitting in the PA Senate's Public Health & Welfare committee.

For details on who's on the PA Senate's Public Health & Welfare committee, see

For a summary article about this proposed legislation in PA, see 

For more from the Council of State Governments on this issue, see

Scott's StoryCorps Interview: Surrender, Redemption and Following Your Calling

on Monday - June 13, 2016.

Scott's StoryCorps Interview: Surrender, Redemption and Following Your Calling

Here's another in our series of StoryCorps interviews. This one is with Scott Brubaker, one of our mentors and facilitators for the Successful Returning Citizens Mentoring Support Group. Scott explores themes of  surrender, redemption, believing in yourself again, and following your calling after your "darkest days."

The ACEs Quiz

on Monday - May 30, 2016.

Continuing our series of articles on childhood trauma and criminal justice responses, below is the ACEs quiz to determine someone's ACEs score.

Several key findings from the original CDC/Kaiser Permanente ACEs study are especially noteworthy:

The original study was conducted with 17,500 predominately middle class, Caucasian, college-educated American adults who had good health insurance.  And in that population:

* 63% of them had experienced at least 1 Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE)

* 50% of them had experienced between 1 and 3 ACEs

* 12% of them had experienced 4 or more ACEs.

So ACEs, it turns out, are incredibly common. In later articles in this series, we'll explore some of the specific data on connections between ACEs and health risks, as well as what the research shows about resilience factors and protective factors that can mitigate the potentially harmful effects of trauma, as well as what's needed to heal from childhood trauma. But for now, here's the quiz to determine someone's ACE score.


Finding Your ACE Score

While you were growing up, during your first 18 years of life:
1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often...
Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or
Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often... Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or
Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever...
Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way?
Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

4. Did you often or very often feel that ...
No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn't look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

5. Did you often or very often feel that ...
You didn't have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or
Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

7. Was your mother or stepmother:
Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or
Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or
Ever repeatedly hit at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or who used street drugs?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

10. Did a household member go to prison?

Yes No If yes enter 1 _______

Now add up your "Yes" answers: _________ This is your ACE Score.

Trauma Informed Criminal Justice-Part 2

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Tuesday - May 10, 2016.

How prevalent is a history of trauma among people who are incarcerated or otherwise in the criminal justice system? According to SAMHSA's GAINS Center, here are some statistics:

* the MacArthur Mental Health Court (MHC) study documented trauma histories of 311 MHC participants in three states and found that:

- 70% of women and 25% of men were sexually abused or raped before age 20

- 67% of women and 73% of men experienced child physical abuse (any kind other than sexual abuse)

- 61% of women and 68% of men had experienced their parents beating or hitting them with a belt, whip or strap

- 46% of women and 27% of men had witnessed their parents hitting or throwing things at each other

- 39% of women and 28% of men had experienced having the father-figure in their childhood home being arrested

- 25% of women and 20% of men had experienced the father-figure in their childhood home using drugs

SAMHSA's GAINS Center also reports findings from the Targeted Capacity Expansion (TCE) for Jail Diversion Study, a 5-year study of men and women with co-occuring mental health and substance use disorders who were in jail diversion programs. This study was funded by SAMHSA from 2002 - 2007. The TCE researchers found that:

* 96% of the women and 89% of the men in jail diversion programs reported lifetime trauma

* 74% of the women and 86% of the men in jail diversion programs reported current trauma

SAMHSA draws the following conclusions from the research on trauma among justice-involved individuals:

"There are high levels of trauma in both men and women, and in justice-involved individuals. Based on these statistics, it is safe to assume that everyone who comes into contact with the justice system has a history of trauma, so criminal justice professionals should take 'universal precautions'."