Over the past 10 years, the Luzerne County Day Reporting Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania has graduated 554 participants from its reentry programs, which offer skills classes, behavioral tools and local resource referrals to help former offenders reintegrate into society.
Luzerne County’s non-residential reentry center, which is operated by GEO Reentry Services, recently celebrated this important anniversary with an afternoon barbecue to honor those who helped develop and launch the DRC’s reentry program: John Hogan, Area Manager for Pennsylvania non-residential centers; Luzerne County DRC Program Manager Stacey Velez; and Matt Wirtner, Area Manager for New Jersey non-residential centers.
Through a curriculum that employs evidence-based principles, program participants at the DRC work to break the cycle of criminal behavior through individual counseling and group classes, including substance abuse treatment and education, anger management, life skills, parenting skills, academic preparation, Moral Reconation Therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, employment and job search assistance and Community Connections, where participants are linked to local community resources as needed.
In the past decade, the DRC has continued to grow its services and will soon introduce several new programs, increase its staff and expand services to include referrals from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Going forward, pretrial services and treatment court will join Luzerne County DRC’s roster, which, in addition to day reporting services, also includes electronic monitoring for adults and juveniles and an in-jail treatment program.
“We are grateful to Luzerne County for a constructive partnership over the last 20 years and for the last 10 years partnering with the Day Reporting Center,” Hogan said. “Through this valued partnership, GEO Reentry Services has helped hundreds of county residents overcome substance abuse, find employment, restore their lives and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.”
At the August celebration, the center’s staff and co-founders attended a social distancing barbecue in an outdoor tent, where they enjoyed a cake, outdoor games and a “Dundie Awards” presentation, with trophies based on the popular TV show “The Office.”
“It has been a pleasure to partner with a dedicated team within GEO Reentry Services, to provide this programming that has helped so many by giving tools and hope for individuals to make a change and get their lives on track,” Velez said. “It has also been rewarding to watch staff grow and take on new challenges and to promote multiple committed members of our team into new and dynamic positions.”