SCI Phoenix and the Pandemic: How The Facility Fought the First Wave

Nestled in the heart of Montgomery County, SCI Phoenix was situated in the heart of the COVID-19 outbreak in Pennsylvania. Yet despite staff living in and travelling from some of the hardest hit areas, Phoenix was able to keep its positive cases among staff and inmates low, especially considering its location. In this episode of Lockup Lowdown, Phoenix leaders explain how they prepared and how they reacted to the pandemic and how they tried to keep everyone who lives and works inside safe.

How Huntingdon Handled an Outbreak

Despite preparation and planning, COVID-19 was still able to get inside SCI Huntingdon and spread during an outbreak in May. However thanks to the creativity and adaptability of its staff, Huntingdon was able to contain the virus and keep it from being so much worse.

In this episode, SCI Huntingdon leaders reflect on the outbreak and what the staff did to mitigate it and how everyone, including the inmates, stepped up to slow the spread and save lives.

Back in Session: Checking in with Education

DOC Education Director Terri Fazio joins the podcast to give an update on what’s new in the education realm inside Pennsylvania’s prisons. Terri shares stats about how inmates fared in 2019 in their educational and vocational studies, and she provides a look ahead at some of the exciting things to come this year.

Matching Reentrants with Their New Careers

Dorenda Hamarlund came to the DOC under a grant to set up a pathway for success for inmates preparing to reenter society—and her work was so important the DOC hired her to continue in that role after the grant ended. Now as the workforce development specialist, Dorenda said she is the “ for reentry” as she tries to link soon-to-be-released inmates up with jobs and convince employers to give them a chance.