Beyond the Walls Workshops by Track

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Accessing Services for Reentry

The purpose of this workshop is to bring about a healing between prisoners, families and victims of crime and to identify the resources that are available in our community to help defendants, prisoners, returning citizens, victims and their families.

Presenters:
LuQman Abdullah, Master of Divinity, Human Rights Coalition

Recently, the Latin American Cultural Exchange Organization held a meeting at Graterford with civic leaders and over 200 inmates to discuss the reintergration process for inmates that will be coming home. Organizations such as Finanta, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Philadelphia Prevention Partnership and many more, addressed and answered many of the concerns of the inmates who will be reintegrating back into the community soon. Topics included employment, business opportunities, and finances. This presentation, led by El Sol Newspaper, will discuss the findings of the meeting and share how organizations can better assist returning citizens from a service standpoint.

Presenters:
Anita Colon, Coalition for Fair Sentencing of Youth and Pennsylvania Prison Society Board of Directors

Inez Ramos, Boricua Human Rights Network

Roger Zepernick, Free Church of St.John

Adan Mairena, West Kensington Ministry

Fernando Mendez, ElZol Radio Station

For many returning from prison or jail, an obstacle for getting – and keeping – a good job is not having a high school diploma or a GED. It can be even more challenging to find opportunities for higher education and a college degree. How does a person find a program, get enrolled, and get through school? This panel brings together experts in adult education to explain what opportunities are available for formerly incarcerated people, and help attendees learn who’s out there to help them get their degrees.

Marcus De Vose
The School District of Philadelphia

Anthony Johnson
Graduate! Philadelphia

Barbara Mattleman
Graduate! Philadelphia

Tara Timberman
Community College of Philadelphia

Now that you are ready to work, what are the steps you need to take to get a job? This interactive workshop will provide you with tips and tricks on interviewing for jobs, resume writing, and follow up with employers. We will role play job interviews so you get the chance to practice your skills. Also, we will help you with answers to interview questions which can be challenging. We will provide handouts with sample resumes and letters as well as helpful websites so you have tools to help you successfully find your next position now that you are ready to work.

Presenters:
Susan B Thomas, BA, MBA, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund

Sherette E Campbell, BS, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund

This workshop shall help returning citizens, and other facing the challenges of unemployment, create a clear and concise game plan to win gainful employment. Beginning with the equipment needed to play, which includes a resume and cover letter, this workhop will provide insight and help individuals formulate a game plan to find employment. Once the game plan has been established, a look into execution of the job interview, answering the tough questions surrounding one’s past history, and using the trick plays in your bag, including employer tax credits, bonding and finding the trick plays of skills and talents deep inside each player, will be discussed. How to navigate the employment process and manage the game clock will also be diagramed. Each team captain will leave this workshop with a comprehensive game plan and a host of useful tools which will give them the edge against their opponents. Sample resumes, cover letters, educational and vocational training opportuntities, as well as employment resources will be provided. Every person attending will be required to “get in the game” and participate in the role playing and active discussion on the playing field.

Presenters:
Jeffrey Abramowitz, BA, Political Science; Juris Doctorate in Law, Community Learning Center

A workshop to explore the psychological impact of incarceration. Prison itsel is a traumatic experience and this workshop will explore how men and women are traumatized during incarceration and re-traumatized upon release without adequate intervention and therapeutic support.

Presenters:
Reuben Jones, Master’s Degree (Human Services), Frontline Dads, Inc.

Jondhi Harrell, Bachelor’s (Social Work), TCRC

Hassan Freeman, Bachelor’s Social Work

Incarcerated men and women typically have physiological and mental health conditions that are associated withpeople at least a decade older in the community. This presentation will provide an inside look at the impact of incarceration on both the mentally ill and aging population and the challenges of reentering the community. Both vulnerable populations lack resources, access to treatment, reintegration stressors and complex systemic needs to ensure a level of care to obtain a successful transition. For those who are aging, the accelerated aging process is likely due to the high burden of disease common in people from poor backgrounds who comprise the majority of the prison population, coupled with unhealthy lifestyles prior to and during incarceration. These factors are often further exacerbated by substandard medical care either before or during incarceration. The violence, anxiety, and stress of prison life, isolation from family and friends, and the possibility of spending most or all of the rest of one’s life behind bars can also contribute to accelerated aging and/or mental illness once incarcerated.

Presenters:
Lynn Patrone, Master’s of Health Education, PA. Department of Corrections

Kimberlee Drum, RN, MSN, Office of Health Care Systems Advocate, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Criminal justice reporter Christopher Moraff will present findings of an investigation into Philadelphia’s troubled community corrections facilities published by Next City as part of the Philadelphia Reentry Reporting Collaborative. A 2014 H.F. Guggenheim Fellow at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Moraff will share takeaways from his reporting on a system of halfway houses that has been found to be unsafe for the returning citizens who are released from prison into their shelter. Moraff will highlight reforms that are underway and introduce a radical approach to “graduated reentry” that is now being tried in Illinois. Moraff will open a conversation with participants about reform in Philadelphia.

Presenters:
Christopher Moraff, NextCity

Activism and Community Empowerment

Bresha Meadows of Ohio was just 14 years old when she was incarcerated and faced a charge of aggravated murder for defending herself and family against the unrelenting terror and abuse of her father. Bresha remains behind bars after submitting to a plea deal last month. In this workshop, we will discuss the connection between domestic violence and the criminalization of girls/young women. Participants will learn the factors that led to Bresha Meadows’s criminalization. Bresha is just one girl of tens of thousands of girls in cages across the United States. Understanding the details of how Bresha has been treated is instructive of how the criminal punishment system is a destructive force against children, especially Black children.

Jameil Johnson
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Elisabeth Long
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Kristina Mitchell
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Shonettia Monique
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly

Every day, there are thousands of people held in Philadelphia’s jails solely because they cannot afford to pay for their release.  Across the country momentum is building and cities, municipalities and states are ending cash bail.  The #No215Jail Coalition is demanding that Philly be the next to #EndCashBail. In this workshop, the #No215Jail Coalition will explain the deleterious impact of the cash bail system and the movement to end its use in Philadelphia, including our participation in the national Black Mama’s Bail Out Day led by the Movement for Black Lives. We will discuss how, by ending cash bail, the city can lower the number of people in the Philadelphia jails, close down the dilapidated House of Correction, and allow people who are presumed innocent to remain at home with their families while awaiting trial.

Joshua Glenn
Youth Art and Self-empowerment Project (YASP)

Sarah Morris
YASP

Hiram Rivera
Philadelphia Student Union
Terrance Williams
YASP

Calling all activists, advocates, and those wishing to get involved in the movement to end the harm that mass incarceration causes to our communities. This session will provide space for those doing movement building work to build community with one another by sharing their resources, ideas, and information about how to plug into the work.

Facilitated by people organizing to end mass incarceration in PA.

Patricia Vickers
Human Rights Coalition

Karen Lee
Human Rights Coalition

Naima Black

Russell Shoatz
CADBI

Kaytee Ray-Riek

Elisabeth Long
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly

Participatory Defense is a movement to empower families and communities to be a more active part of the court process to humanize those accused and create better outcomes. By creating a family justice hub, we will give loved ones a place to learn about the process, how they can be involved, and how to best work with their public defender.

Partnerships between the Defender and community organizations will provide a unique layer of services that are available to those accused without them being mandated.

Presenters:
Mark Houldin, Defender Association of Philadelphia

Michael McKee, Broad Street Ministries

In order to create an environment in Pennsylvania where legislation can be drafted and passed, and policies enacted it is necessary to form relationships that can accomplish this. This workshop will discuss effective methods of lobbying and coalition building in Philadelphia, in Harrisburg and on a national level.

Presenters:
J. Harrell, BS Human Services Management and MSW Candidate, TCRC The Center for Returning Citizens

Anthony Dickerson, TCRC The Center for Returning Citizens

Approximately 14% of people in the Pennsylvania Prison System are living with hepatitis C (almost 7,000 people), yet only a small number of them have been able to receive medication that could CURE their virus. A major barrier to treatment is the cost of medication. Correctional policy makers have a limited budget for health care services and are forced to restrict who can be treated as a cost saving measure. Treating every inmate living with HCV in PA would cost the state an estimated $300-600 million (in comparison, the state pays approximately $250 million on ALL prison health services in a year!). This raises many questions: Is the hep C cure too expensive? How many people can the state afford to treat? How can the community advocate for lower drug prices to increase access to treatment? Should the state budget more money to pay for hep C? If you agree that hep C treatment access is a major health justice issue, come hear how local advocates are fighting to get more Pennsylvania inmates treated with hep C meds by taking action through legal means and activism!

Presenters:
David Rudovsky, LLB, Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP

To Be Determined, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ)

Annette Gaudino, Treatment Action Group

Alex Shirreffs, MPH, HepCAP

This participatory workshop will explore the movement to end Death By Incarceration, or life without parole sentencing in the state of Pennsylvania. Presenters will provide background information and historical context on life without parole sentences in Pennsylvania, and place it in a larger context of mass incarceration. Workshop leaders will guide participants in an activity to consider the values that should guide our responses to harm, and explore stories and traditions of redemption. Participants will have a chance to share their own knowledge and perspectives. Speakers will share the impact of DBI on communities and families – and share current strategies and proposals of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration. Participants will have a chance to hear the experiences and analysis of individuals serving Death By Incarceration. The workshop will explore the particular experiences and challenges faced by women serving life without parole. We will finish by providing participants with ways to take action.

Presenters:
Theresa Shoatz, CADBI and HRC – Human Rights Coalition

Lorraine Haw, CADBI

Kavita Goyal, Masters in Education, CADBI

Yvonne Newkirk, CADBI, HRC

Lauren Taylor, CADBI

With the popularity of shows like Orange is the New Black, Law and Order, The Wire, and even documentaries like 13th, we have no shortage of media representations of imprisonment. However, many of the people who watch these shows have never been exposed to the concept of media literacy – an important tool that can be used to begin conversation about unpacking media representations of imprisonment. In this workshop, we will learn media literacy basics, practice analyzing popular media together using these concepts, and become familiar with resources to enable us to use media literacy every day. Philadelphia’s own Media Mobilization Project will be in attendance to answer questions and provide resources for strategizing media to support the most marginalized among us, including those who have been incarcerated and loved ones of those on the inside.

Presenters:
Bryan Mercer, Media Mobilizing Project

Hannah Sassaman, Media Mobilizing Project

As a result of “tough on crime” policies, the number of aging people in American prisons has skyrocketed since the early 2000s, confining thousands of seniors to cruel and degrading conditions, wasting huge financial resources, and doing nothing to protect public safety. Prisons are ill equipped to provide the level of care needed by an aging population, and research overwhelmingly shows that releasing prisoners who have served long sentences pose little to no threat to public safety. This dynamic workshop will discuss the baffling crisis of aging in prison, and explore advocacy efforts in New York State to bring our elders home.

Presenters:
Laura Whitehorn, RAPP

Mujahid Farid, RAPP

How could men and women in reentry work with lawyers, artists, and many others to transform Philadelphia’s reentry services, stereotypes, and policies?

Philadelphia’s Reentry Think Tank is partnering with lawyers, advocates, and many others to transform Philadelphia’s Reentry Services through art, public speaking and organizing. Since 2010 Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity has been revolutionizing the delivery of legal services across Pennsylvania focused on the creation, dissemination, and destruction of criminal records. Through its Lawyers and Artists Bridging Society, LABS, PLSE partners with artists, performers, and community members to collaborate for social equity. Formerly incarcerated members of the Reentry Think Tank will discuss their city-wide efforts to transform how Philadelphia supports those in reentry, specifically exploring collaborations with legal service providers.

This workshop will provide dynamic, interactive discussion as well as featuring a pop up installation of art created by members of the Think Tank.

Presenters:
Michael Lee, JD, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity

Faith Bartley, People’s Paper Co Op

Russell Craig

What do we mean when we say “mass incarceration” or “mass imprisonment”? The United States sends the greatest number of its own people to prison and jail: while we have 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s prisoners. And, Philadelphia has very high numbers of people in prison or jail: out of the 50,000 people in prison in Pennsylvania, 20,000 are from the Greater Philadelphia region. We also see much greater effects of mass incarceration in communities of color, and in poor communities. So, what’s behind this system? Who benefits, and who gets hurt? Why do folks think that locking people up protects the rest of us? And, what can we do to end this system? This workshop begins to answer these questions, and offers steps to end our unjust systems.

This Workshop is a Presentation.

Presenters:
Kirk James, MSW, DSW, Columbia School of Social Work

Families

Bresha Meadows of Ohio was just 14 years old when she was incarcerated and faced a charge of aggravated murder for defending herself and family against the unrelenting terror and abuse of her father. Bresha remains behind bars after submitting to a plea deal last month. In this workshop, we will discuss the connection between domestic violence and the criminalization of girls/young women. Participants will learn the factors that led to Bresha Meadows’s criminalization. Bresha is just one girl of tens of thousands of girls in cages across the United States. Understanding the details of how Bresha has been treated is instructive of how the criminal punishment system is a destructive force against children, especially Black children.

Jameil Johnson
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Elisabeth Long
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Kristina Mitchell
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Shonettia Monique
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly

Every day, there are thousands of people held in Philadelphia’s jails solely because they cannot afford to pay for their release.  Across the country momentum is building and cities, municipalities and states are ending cash bail.  The #No215Jail Coalition is demanding that Philly be the next to #EndCashBail. In this workshop, the #No215Jail Coalition will explain the deleterious impact of the cash bail system and the movement to end its use in Philadelphia, including our participation in the national Black Mama’s Bail Out Day led by the Movement for Black Lives. We will discuss how, by ending cash bail, the city can lower the number of people in the Philadelphia jails, close down the dilapidated House of Correction, and allow people who are presumed innocent to remain at home with their families while awaiting trial.

Joshua Glenn
Youth Art and Self-empowerment Project (YASP)

Sarah Morris
YASP

Hiram Rivera
Philadelphia Student Union
Terrance Williams
YASP

Rebuilding family ties is critical to decreasing recidivism. The United States Congress recognized this when they passed the 2007 Second Chance Act recognizing that reentry programming is critical to reducing recidivism, and that reduction strategies need “to rebuild ties between offenders and families, while the offenders are incarcerated and after reentry into the community, to promote stable families and communities.” In 2010, restorative justice, a path to personal and societal healing based on indigenous practices, was utilized to create such a re-entry program, a process called Restorative Re-Entry Circles. These circles provide a safe space for the incarcerated person, their families, and support systems to process how this time of incarceration has impacted them, what is needed for a successful return home, and create a plan for that success. In this workshop participants will learn the basics of restorative justice, experience a restorative re-entry circle, hear how men at SCI-Graterford are working to make these accessible to people in Pennsylvania, explore success stories from Hawaii, and Virginia, hear how these circles have proven to reduce recidivism.

Presenters:
Barbie Fischer, MA Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice, Restorative Encounters

Charles Boyd, Let’s Cirlce Up/ Restorative Encounters

Legal Issues

Currently in the United States there are 34 states which have HIV specific criminal codes used to target people with HIV. This workshop will provide information and discussion about what these laws look like in our back yards, further; How people living with HIV can lead the way in pushing back against HIV laws which tend to create a sero underclass. How to avoid being prosecuted, effectively for knowing your HIV status.

Presenters:
Waheedah Shabazz-El, Positive Women’s Network-USA

Teresa Sullivan, Positive Women’s Network-USA

Adrian Lowe, JD, PA AIDS Law Project

Asha Molock, BSS, Positive Women’s Network-USA

While more organizations strive to become competent engaging with sex work specific needs, many still overlook the full extent to which criminalization effects access to healthcare and safety for those. Looking specifically at Pennsylvania law as it pertains to the intersection of sex work and HIV, this workshop aims to open a dialogue on the implications for health care and communities in order to identify areas of improvement in services and advocacy.

Presenter:
Nina Marsoopian
Project Safe and Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance

LGBTQ

A staggering 16% of transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) adults – and 21% of transgender women, and 47% of black trans women – have experienced incarceration, as compared to 2.7% of all adults. For This wildly disproportionate involvement in the criminal legal system –including policing, arrests, convictions and imprisonment – is due to a complex web of factors such as increased poverty, homelessness, trauma, discrimination and other structural vulnerabilities to incarceration. When transgender and GNC folks return to the community following incarceration, the impacts of widespread discrimination in access to housing, employment, medical care, mental health treatment, drug and alcohol treatment and other social services persist. This workshop, designed by advocates, social service providers and those with lived experience, will explore the factors that leave transgender and GNC communities vulnerable to criminalization and incarceration, describe the existing landscape of services and support for individuals in reentry, and outline the gaps in the current service system. Workshop facilitators will create time and space for collective visioning around increased transgender competent services, focusing on creating infrastructure that can support transgender and GNC individuals thrive and build vibrant and sustainable lives for themselves after reentering.

Presenters:
Lucy Gleysteen, Philadelphia FIGHT

Laura Sorenson, Morris Home

Andrew Spiers, Morris Home

This workshop will provide an overview of the issues facing incarcerated Transgender and Gender Variant people. We hope that participants will walk away with a clearer understanding of the conditions that Transgender and Gender Variant folks face while incarcerated and armed with practical strategies for advocating for and organizing alongside incarcerated Transgender and Gender Variant individuals.

Presenters:
Kat Delancey , Hearts on a Wire

Network and Strategize!

Calling all activists, advocates, and those wishing to get involved in the movement to end the harm that mass incarceration causes to our communities. This session will provide space for those doing movement building work to build community with one another by sharing their resources, ideas, and information about how to plug into the work.

Facilitated by people organizing to end mass incarceration in PA.

Patricia Vickers
Human Rights Coalition

Karen Lee
Human Rights Coalition

Naima Black

Russell Shoatz
CADBI

Kaytee Ray-Riek

Elisabeth Long
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly

This session is for those with loved ones on the inside or who have recently come home. Having a loved one locked up can be stressful and create hardships for their family. This space will offer the opportunity to discuss strategies for self care within the context of supporting a loved one who is directly impacted by incarceration.

Facilitated by:

Khia Naylor
Philadelphia FIGHT’s Institute for Community Justice (ICJ)

Pam Superville
RISE

Assata Thomas
ICJ

This session is for those who have had the lived experience of incarceration. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss challenges to reentry and strategies for navigating coming home. Led by members of the Reentry Think Tank, attendees will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics and identify opportunities to build their leadership and power!

Facilitated by:

The Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank

This session is for those who work as frontline staff in the reentry field. This space is an exploration of the work of case managers, reentry service providers, group facilitators, therapists, peer educators, outreach workers, and more! Participants will look at issues of self care and burnout, barriers to inside/out communication, and share resources that help those who are coming home.

Lucy Gleysteen
Philadelphia FIGHT

Laura Sorenson
Morris Home

Andrew Spiers
Morris Home

Prison Health

With rates of overdose deaths skyrocketing upon reentry into the community, service providers and those living in community with people who are returning from prison and jail must be equipped to intervene in the event of an overdose, and to prevent overdoses before they happen. This workshop describes how to meet people living with addiction “where they’re at” through harm reduction practice methodologies, how to identify symptoms of an overdose, and how to use Naloxone (Narcan) to revive a person who is overdosing. The second half of this workshop will be dedicated to learning how to use Naloxone, and the first 50 people in attendance will be given a Naloxone kit to carry with them.

Presenters:
Nidia Flores, Prevention Point Philadelphia

Francis O’Neill, Prevention Point Philadelphia

PDP provides a full range of clinical services to some 30,000 individuals annually. The “illness burden” of this population is remarkable, e.g., 40% receive behavioral health care, 30% have one or more chronic physical illness and upwards of 70% suffer from substance abuse disorders. These are citizens who generally receive only episodic care in the community. PDP clinicians address current clinical problems and increasingly are working to assure effective continuity of care upon release. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the medical services provided at PDP, what is not provided and developments underway at this time.

Presenters:
Bruce Herdman, MA, MBA, PhD, Philadelphia Department of Prisons

An estimated 50,000 Philadelphians have hepatitis C – this includes many people who have been incarcerated. Whether you want to understand the basics of hep C, need to brush up on key hep C talking points, or are looking for answers to questions about hepatitis this workshop will give you an overview of hep C from transmission to treatment. Come to this workshop for the info you need to be a hepatitis advocate and educator!

Presenters:
Jack Hildick-Smith, BS, PDPH

This workshop will help you to better understand the process of linking clients to HIV treatment in the Philadelphia County jail. We will discuss the current model of transitioning returning citizens from Corizon HIV medical care to a provider in the community, along with linking clients to mental health, drug and alcohol, and specialty care treatment. By the end of the workshop, you will understand how multiple systems collaborate to reduce recidivism and community viral load.

Presenters:
Odessa Summers, B.S in BioBehaviorial Health, ActionWellness

Kate Bates, B.A. Psychology, ActionWellness

Sharon Bunting, RN and CCHP, Corizon Health

Debra D’Aquilante, MD, Corizon health

Jason Simmons , ActionWellness

Finding Freedom in a Maximum Security Prison Through Yoga and Mindfulness?!

For the men at SCI Graterford who recently graduated from the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification program the goal of yoga is simple yet profound: Yoga means freedom….literally and figuratively. Freedom means finding non-violent ways to deal with violent situations.

This workshop presents the results of the 1st ever 200 hour yoga teacher certification program for incarcerated men in a maximum security prison. Yoga teacher training in prison is unique. It provides an intensive study of both the philosophy and practical application of yoga within the context of the criminal justice system while preparing the men who will be released back into the community with tangible skills and career options.

The workshop presents programs for both incarcerated individuals and career development opportunities for returning citizens. Since completing the program, many of the students now facilitate classes on a peer-to-peer basis for those in the therapeutic units: those in recovery, those in oncology, hospice, mental health units. Classes are conducted for seniors, athletes, and veterans.

Presenters:
Michael Huggins, BS, MBA, RYT, Transformation Yoga Project

Brianne Murphy, BA, RYT, Transformation Yoga Project

The penal system is failing deaf inmates. Here’s what advocacy groups are doing about it” will be a panel version of a reported story published by Generocity, a Philly-based social impact news site, that discusses the difficulties faced by deaf inmates in federal, state and local correctional systems. This story is part of the Preentry Project.

Presenters:
Talila Lewis, Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD)

Shawn Hawes. Philadelphia Department of Prisons spokesperson

Howard Rosenblum, Maryland-based National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

William Lockard, DeafCAN! (Deaf Community Action Network)

Research

High mortality rates, particularly from overdose, after release from state and federal prison systems are well documented. Reasons for this increased risk include possible decreased physiological tolerance to drugs while incarcerated and difficulties with community reentry such as finding employment, housing, and reconnecting with families. Little is known about mortality rates after release from municipal or city prison systems such as the Philadelphia Department of Prisons where length of stay is often shorter and comprehensive mental health and substance use treatment programs are less available. Come to this workshop if you want to learn about risk of fatal overdose among recently released inmates from the Philadelphia Department of Prisons.

Presenters:
Lia Pizzicato, MPH, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Court systems across the United States are using a pretrial assessment tools to forecast failure to appear, risk of rearrest, or risk of future violence. The use of algorithms are increasingly popular in the field of criminal justice. We are conducting a national study on how these tools are being used pretrial detention decisions. This workshop is an introduction to our research and discuss a few case studies to help participants better understand how predictive tools are being used in local communities.

Presenters:
Di Luong, Media Mobilizing Project

Spiritually Based Prison Work

Discussion of causation and strategies for healing trauma, stigma and rejection of returning citizens and other vulnerable populations by their faith communities.

Presenters:
Rev. Dr. Chris Kimmenez, Psy D, Candidate for D. Min., Healing Communities USA

Storytelling

This workshop will begin with a brief presentation on The Returning Citizens Tour Guide Project at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, a program designed to build empathy amongst visitors to the site and humanizing current issues in incarceration. Then, hear from our group of some of the experienced tour staff of Eastern State who initially help to develop and co-facilitate tours and the tour guides who share aspects of their lived experience in prison with visitors to the historic site.

Presenters:
Lauren Rowland, Bachelor of Arts in History and Urban Studies, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Victoria Potenza, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Alanna Shaffer, Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Christine Freije, Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

“Writing as Resistance” is an interactive writing workshop designed for individuals affected by mass incarceration and various health disparities who are tired of being misrepresented by mass media producers and various political institutions. This workshop vigorously engages attendees to view storytelling, poetry, persuasive and informative /explanatory style writing as tools to dismantle oppressive forces in their everyday lives. Understanding how important reading informational text to build fact based platforms to speak/write on; especially when stating grievances will be addressed. Attendees can expect to be taught how to use dictionaries, thesauruses and slang to build vocabulary. The workshop will include highlights of past, present Change Agents that chose to use the power of writing and public speaking to confront institutionalized trauma, discrimination head on. Lastly the title and theme “Writing as Resistance” gives light to the concept of one brandishing their own power to finding healthier alternatives (in particular creative writing) to express self-destructive emotions such as: anger, anxiety and powerlessness over one’s own life.

Presenters:
Samantha Stone Burton , Philadelphia FIGHT

Voices from the Inside

The presentation will bring together key people who started and continue to operate a program inside the walls of SCI Graterford. Started by the men incarcerated inside, supported by the DOC staff and external team, along with State Representatives and local government officials, the FACT (Fathers and Children Together) program reunites children and their fathers while the men are incarcerated. Learn about how this valuable program was started, how it continues, and it’s importance as a program designed and led by the men inside for the betterment of their families and communities.

Presenters:
Ron Waters, Creating A Village/FACT

Dawan Williams, FACT

Jean Wright, PHD, DBHIDS

There is something we can all do to help reduce recidivism in our community and that is communicate with an offender. Communication with social connections is important to all inmates; it could be letter writing, pictures or visits. This interactive workshop is about the power of communication to bring about small changes in the criminal justice community.

Presenters:
LaTrista Webb, MSW, The Elevation Project

Chaz Tilley, The Elevation Project

Irving Purnell, The Elevation Project

Women

Bresha Meadows of Ohio was just 14 years old when she was incarcerated and faced a charge of aggravated murder for defending herself and family against the unrelenting terror and abuse of her father. Bresha remains behind bars after submitting to a plea deal last month. In this workshop, we will discuss the connection between domestic violence and the criminalization of girls/young women. Participants will learn the factors that led to Bresha Meadows’s criminalization. Bresha is just one girl of tens of thousands of girls in cages across the United States. Understanding the details of how Bresha has been treated is instructive of how the criminal punishment system is a destructive force against children, especially Black children.

Jameil Johnson
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Elisabeth Long
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Kristina Mitchell
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly
Shonettia Monique
Campaign to Free Bresha – Philly

Every day, there are thousands of people held in Philadelphia’s jails solely because they cannot afford to pay for their release.  Across the country momentum is building and cities, municipalities and states are ending cash bail.  The #No215Jail Coalition is demanding that Philly be the next to #EndCashBail. In this workshop, the #No215Jail Coalition will explain the deleterious impact of the cash bail system and the movement to end its use in Philadelphia, including our participation in the national Black Mama’s Bail Out Day led by the Movement for Black Lives. We will discuss how, by ending cash bail, the city can lower the number of people in the Philadelphia jails, close down the dilapidated House of Correction, and allow people who are presumed innocent to remain at home with their families while awaiting trial.

Joshua Glenn
Youth Art and Self-empowerment Project (YASP)

Sarah Morris
YASP

Hiram Rivera
Philadelphia Student Union
Terrance Williams
YASP

The vast majority of justice involved women have been impacted by trauma, mental illness and drug/alcohol addictions, which played a part in their incarceration. Studies show that 77-98% of incarcerated women have experienced multiple traumas including interpersonal violence and or physical/sexual abuse during their childhoods and/or as an adult. A woman who has experienced traumatic events without treatment may develop mental health challenges and self-medicate to relieve her pain. All of these activities are more likely to land a woman in the criminal justice system, where she will experience additional traumas. During this interactive workshop, facilitators from I’m FREE – Females Reentering Empowering Each Other will review women’s pathways into the system, trauma and the brain as well as hope for the future. Participants will use the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Questionnaire to determine the prevalence of their own childhood trauma and how it impacts them now. Recovery from prior traumas, mental health issues, addiction and reentry is possible with supportive resources like I’m FREE, Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) and Certified Recovery Specialists.

Presenters:
Petrena Young, MS, I’m FREE – Females Reentering Empowering Each Other

Dr. Renaya Furtick Wheelan, PhD, I’m FREE – Females Reentering Empowering Each Other

Christina Wall, AA, I’m FREE – Females Reentering Empowering Each Other

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 1 in 25 women in federal corrections facilities and 1 in 24 women in state correctional facilities arrives pregnant. In our current system, pregnant prisoners are often not afforded safe conditions in which to give birth: many are not able to receive adequate prenatal care or obstetrical care during labor and delivery, and some are shackled when giving birth. And, in the event that a woman must terminate her pregnancy, despite her legal rights to do so, she is often not able to due to restrictive prison policies. Furthermore, routine gynecological care is often inaccessible to women behind the walls. What is being done to change these situations, and to improve healthcare for women who are incarcerated? This workshop explains what’s going on in the prisons and jails, what’s the legal background for women’s healthcare, and who’s working to improve the system.

Presenters:
Shannon Criniti, PhD, MPH, AccessMatters

Latasha Deer, RN, Corizon Health

LaToya Myers, Maternity Care Coalition

Vandelyn Phillips, RN, BSN, CCHP, Corizon Health

Julie Zaebst, ACLU of Pennsylvania

Youth

YASP plans to have a 5-presenter panel with three young people from Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project (YASP), one person from the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP) and one person from the Philadelphia Defender Association. The goal of the panel is to let our audience know what different organizations are doing around the city to end the practice of youth being charged as adults in Philadelphia. We also plan to educate folks about the impact of youth being charged as adults and the impact it has on our communities. The panel will provide a unique opportunity to hear from youth organizers and attorneys who are working together to change the policies that funnel young people into Philadelphia’s adult courts and jails.

Presenters:
TA Williams, Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project

Romeeka Williams, Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project

David Harrington, Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project

Lauren Fine, JD, Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project

Joshua Glenn, Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project