The inmates at Quehanna, a correction institute in Clearfield County, are nearing the end of their sentences.
They agreed to a six-month program focusing on self-discipline. Michelle Dunn, the reentry specialist for corrections, says it’ll help them adjust to life outside of their walls. “We have them learning trades, how to communicate with people, how to be a productive citizen,” adds Dunn.
A group of men will graduate next week and have to adjust to life back on the streets. Dunn says many of them will face hardships, “a lot of inmates have felonies on their rap sheets. So a lot of employers don’t want to hire those people.”
However, there are some employers willing to hire convicted Felons. Some of those employers were on site Friday, to make that process a little bit easier.
“The Fiber School” was in attendance. Sonny Hunt, Director of Operations says, they began a partnership with the Department of Corrections eight years ago. Hunt says these inmates can move on to having careers within their company. “On the outside, we help with job placement we also offer advanced training. So once they’re in the field working they can come back to us and advance their career,” adds Hunt.
Many inmates suffer from addiction allowing them to work with the office of vocational rehabilitation. The agency will help them achieve employment.”It’s vital to help people with disabilities to find employment. There are so many jobs out there,” says business representative, John Benjamin.
Other agencies address more hardships they may face upon exiting the program. Becky McDicken from the Department of Banking and Securities, says inmate are extremely susceptible to having their identities stolen while incarcerated. “We know that money issues play a role in recidivism and a lot of times the reason they’re there in the first place,” adds McDicken.
Officials say they have a very low percentage of incarceration for inmates who have gone through this program. They believe that success is from their focus on re-entry.