Participants and staff at the Lancaster and Berks County Reentry Service Centers and the Luzerne County Reentry Service Center in Pennsylvania recently organized several events and activities to promote second chance opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.
These events were meant to raise awareness about the challenges former offenders face upon reentering society, including significant barriers to employment and housing.
As a teambuilding exercise, staff at the Lancaster County RSC in Lancaster and the Berks County RSC in Reading worked together to create a “Behavior Chain” chalkboard illustrating “Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Substance Use,” a process developed by researchers at the University of Cincinnati. To help participants understand the cognitive behavioral link, the chalkboard depicts a possible precursor to negative behavior, then options that would lead to a more positive outcome.
During the center’s celebration of second chances, staff and participants also wore T-shirts created by Berks RSC Counselors Ms. Hammell and Ms. Martinez that read: “The best gift in life is a second chance.”
For its part, the Luzerne County RSC in Wilkes Barre recently highlighted the importance of second chances with custom T-shirts, an uplifting wall poster, and special goodie bags to brighten participants’ day, containing water, cookies and candy.
“We have seen so many individuals benefit from our program and change their lives for the better because they were given a second chance,” said Luzerne County RSC Program Manager Stacey Velez. “Second chances work, and we are glad to provide services that participants can embrace and use going forward.”
The Lancaster, Berks and Luzerne RSCs’ dedication to second chances reflects their common mission: to help formerly incarcerated individuals start over, reintegrating into their local communities and becoming productive members of society.
The three non-residential reentry centers run by GEO Reentry Services provide outpatient reentry services and evidence-based treatment designed to effect cognitive behavioral change. Each offers Moral Reconation Therapy, life skills classes, and other services based on Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, as well as skills and resources to prepare program participants for a new beginning.