Trauma trainings for Lancaster County corrections and parole officers

on Monday - May 01, 2017.

The RMO for Returning Citizens recently provided training to over 400 corrections officers and parole officers in Lancaster County. This work was featured in a recent article in the Lancaster Newspaper (link below).

This was a truly collaborative effort, with partners from Spanish American Civic Association, Advoz, CompassMark and Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County all assisting with the training.

The training team was: Melanie Snyder (RMO-lead instructor), Allison Weber (SACA), Vanessa Philbert (CAP), Jen Strasenburgh (CompassMark), & Angela Keen (CCP), and my fantastic RMO interns (both Millersville University students) Lindsay Mays (MSW candidate) & Beckah Shenk (BSW candidate).

We are also very grateful to the Walters / Unitarian Church Trust, an endowment from Art and Selma Walters to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster (UUCL) for funding part of this training through a grant to the RMO. In awarding this grant, the UUCL Board has acknowledged the contributions of the RMO to achieving the vision of inclusiveness among all humans as well as respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, as promoted by the Walters Trust and UUCL. We are deeply honored to have been awarded this grant from the Walters Trust and UUCL.

This first round of trainings for prison and probation/parole staff is the beginning of the RMO's effort to build the foundation for a trauma-informed criminal justice system in Lancaster County.

Here's the LNP article:


Trauma-Informed Criminal Justice: Reflections on first round of training

on Friday - March 24, 2017.

We recently completed a first round of trainings about trauma for Lancaster County Prison staff and staff of Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole. Here are some reflections on lessons learned from this first phase of the RMO's work to build the foundation for a trauma-informed criminal justice system in Lancaster County:

Trauma Informed Criminal Justice-Part 2

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Monday - February 20, 2017.

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 mental health court 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'."

At Lancaster County Prison, over the past couple of years, the Family Services Advocate, Jen Strasenburgh, has administered the ACEs Quiz to incarcerated parents to assess the amount of trauma they have experienced in their lifetimes. The results, compared to the original CDC/Kaiser Permanente ACEs study, are shown below:




How being trauma-informed improves criminal justice responses

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Wednesday - February 01, 2017.

"Although prevalence estimates vary, there is consensus that high percentages of justice-involved women and men have experienced serious trauma throughout their lifetime. The reverberating effects of traumatic experiences can challenge a person's capacity for recovery and pose significant barriers to accessing services, often resulting in an increased risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system." – SAMHSA GAINS Center – "How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses"

In our previous series of articles about the connections between trauma, addiction, mental health and crime, we presented . . . 


on Saturday - November 26, 2016.

Thanks to the generosity of 114 donors, the RMO secured $13,204 in donations through the ExtraOrdinary Give! This allowed us to receive an additional $12,500 in matching funds, provided by several additional generous supporters.

In addition to this total of $25,704, we will also receive a pro-rated portion of the ExtraOrdinary Give "Stretch Pool" dollars! This was truly a remarkable day for the RMO!

These funds will allow us to serve even more returning citizens with our RMO programs and services so they can successfully complete treatment and trainings, learn valuable life skills, get jobs, stay clean and sober, pay their child support, restitution and bills, re-build relationships with their families, and lead crime-free, healthy lives with meaning and purpose.

And when returning citizens are successful, our community is safer, which helps ALL of us!

THANK YOU to our generous donors and supporters! YOU are ExtraOrdinary! WE are Grateful!