Summer Graduations in Pennsylvania Showcase Positive Reentry Program Outcomes

Summer Graduations in Pennsylvania Showcase Positive Reentry Program Outcomes

Two participant graduations in Pennsylvania this month highlighted the power of recognizing participants at reentry center programs for their hard work and commitment to changing their lives in a positive manner. These events are uplifting for participants, their families and friends, key stakeholders in the local criminal system and program staff, and they deliver positive reinforcement in a public manner that adds motivation for participants to continue successful decision making in the community.

On June 7, the Cambria County Reentry Service Center hosted a celebrated graduation for 50 participants. The event was held at the new reentry center and attended by almost 70 stakeholders, graduates, family and friends. The keynote speaker was District Justice and former County Warden John Prebish, who was instrumental in starting the Cambria reentry program 12 years ago as the county sought to reduce jail crowding and focus on reducing recidivism.  A program alumnus – an individual from the program’s first graduation more than a decade ago – returned to deliver inspirational remarks also. The event was attended by all county judges and their board of commissioners. 

To see a video and news coverage of the Cambria graduation, click here.

Under the guidance of the Cambria County Probation Department, the Cambria County RSC opened in 2012. The RSC provides a structured combination of cognitive behavioral treatment, training, case management and community connections to help individuals on probation to break the cycle of recidivism. A 2023 data report found the participant criminal risk score was lowered by 24% from when they entered the program to successfully completion. Of the 334 individuals who were served at the center that year, there was an almost 300% increase in participant employment gains by program completion. 

Luzerne County Graduation

On June 11, the Luzerne County Reentry Service Center also hosted a graduation, and this time nearly 60 participants were on hand to mark successful completion of this intensive reentry program curriculum. The event was held at the Luzerne County Courthouse Rotunda in the middle of the day, and more than 100 stakeholders, graduates, family, and friends attended. The keynote speaker was President Judge Michael Vough, and County Director of Corrections Jim Wilbur also spoke to the graduates to congratulate them on their success. In a special tribute, a former program graduate and new GEO Reentry Assistant Case Manager read out the graduate’s names as they received their certificates of completion.  

As non-residential reentry centers, these programs provide evidence-based treatment, training and supervision to individuals referred by Cambria County, Luzerne County or the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, including cognitive behavioral therapy and substance abuse treatment, empowering them to take charge of their lives and become productive members of society.

Many thanks to the GEO Reentry program managers and staff at the Cambria and Luzerne reentry programs for organizing and delivering inspiring graduations.