Extraordinary women, extraordinary opportunities

on Friday - November 21, 2014.

"This course showed me that I do have a chance in life - that I can still do things with my life. And it also gave me a different outlook on the outside - this program changed me - gave me strength to keep going forward." ~ Jasmine

This morning at Lancaster County Prison, ten extraordinary women graduated from the RMO's Reentry Course - the comprehensive life skills program that we've been running at LCP since 2011.

These ten women - Brittany, Mary, Jasmine, Melissa, Shea, Sue, Tessa, Heather, Atiya, Tracey – are gutsy, determined, and wise. They demonstrated initiative, persistence and gut-wrenching honesty throughout the program. They deserve a chance at a better future.

But they're also incredibly vulnerable and face staggering hurdles to that "better future." All ten of them have children who were left behind when the women went to prison. All of them have been in and out of prison multiple times. Most of them struggle with addictions. Most of them experienced significant trauma when they were children: abuse, neglect, poverty, hunger . . . And seven of them have nowhere to live when they get released from Lancaster County Prison. All of them will be released within the next couple of months - in the dead of winter.

The RMO can help them - but only if we have funds to provide the safe housing, case management, treatment and other services these women, and many other inmates like them, will need when they are released.

Will you consider making a donation to the RMO through the "DONATE" link on our home page? 

Your support can make a world of difference to help Brittany, Mary, Jasmine, Melissa, Shea, Sue, Tessa, Heather, Atiya, Tracey and others to make a new life outside of prison for themselves and their children.

Thank you for considering a donation to help the RMO to continue to work with people the rest of society has thrown away and forgotten.

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.

 

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

Written by Melanie G. Snyder 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

Written by Melanie G. Snyder 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 . . .