Kicking Off a Magical Reentry in Wernersville

Mike Cioppa is a professional magician who now resides at Wernersville CCC. Although he had never heard of Wernersville before, Mike has grown to appreciate the small town and has been making the most of his second chance. Mike joined the PA Prisons and Parole Podcast to talk about his reentry journey so far, including how he’s engaged with his new community, how his positive attitude has helped his reentry and why he’s happier now than before he was incarcerated.

For more on Mike, check out this video feature from earlier this month — including a few of his tricks for Wernersville CCC employees: Meet Wernersville CCC’s Mike Cioppa – YouTube

Helping Reentrants Find Housing

A big challenge for many reentrants after incarceration is finding stable housing — and that’s where Director of Reentry Services Luis Resto and his team come in. In this month’s episode, Resto shares how his team connects reentrants with safe, stable and affordable housing in the community.

Unlocking Creative Writing Skills in the DOC

In the spring, Andrea Zittlau of Universität Rostock and Jayne Thompson of Widener University brought a Creative Writing Workshop into six DOC facilities to spur creativity and a love for writing in incarcerated individuals. The spring sessions were such a success, the duo are set to hit the road again in October to bring their workshop to another set of facilities.

In this month’s episode of the PA Prisons and Parole Podcast, Andrea and Jayne discuss the workshop, including why they do it, some of their favorite memories of it and what has surprised them most so far.

Class is in Session

Whether finishing a GED or earning a trade certification, the education of incarcerated individuals is critical as they prepare for a successful reentry. As the new school year begins for students throughout Pennsylvania, SCI Pine Grove Principal Allan Berkhimer discusses the educational programs available in the DOC, as well as some exciting developments and future opportunities in the works for incarcerated students.

Striving For Success through Partnerships and Simulations

It’s been more than a year since the STRIVE initiative kicked off in the Scranton area, which brought public and private partners together to streamline providing resources for reentry. Parole Manager Penny Sines and Community Reentry Parole Agent Mary Brotzman discuss what they’ve learned since STRIVE began, share some success stories and explain how the program has benefited reentrants and providers alike. They also spend some time at the end of this episode discussing reentry simulations, including one that host Ryan Tarkowski participated in in the spring.