Rmo

TEDx Talk on Prisons as a LAST RESORT

Grace Marie Hamilton has taught me so very much, both through the extensive interviews with her that went into writing “Grace Goes to Prison”, and in the years since the book’s publication, as she has become both my mentor and teacher. Grace Marie has a number of “sayings” that she’s shared with me. One of them is:

“Prisons should be used ONLY for the people we don’t yet know how to help.”

I recently had the honor of being one of the speakers at a TEDx event, and I used what Grace Marie taught me to craft a talk around the radical suggestion that our prisons should be used only as an option of last resort. Here it is:

TEDx Talk: #PrisonAsALastResort

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Stories from House of Ruth

My last post told of the origins of B.I.R.D. Ministries and House of Ruth. Here are a few stories Linda Bird shared about the women she has served over the years . . .

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Beginning In the Right Direction - B.I.R.D. Ministries

One summer morning in 2001, Linda Bird got a phone call asking if she’d be willing to go into the Lancaster County Prison and teach a parenting class for women incarcerated there. Linda agreed to do the class, even though she had no idea what to expect . . .

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Forging a New Path - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

Elaina* curls up at one end of the sofa in her living room, as she invites me to have a seat at the other end. The petite 30 year-old has short cropped hair, an engaging smile and a radiant glow about her. She launches right into the story of her path from prison to where she is now . . .

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Imagine (redux) - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

Imagine arriving in an unfamiliar place, with nothing but a few dollars and the clothes on your back. You don’t have a roadmap or any reliable means of transportation. You aren’t sure where to go or where you’ll sleep tonight. You haven’t eaten for hours and aren’t sure where your next meal will come from . . .

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Taking the Lead - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

Today’s post focuses on Lancaster – and an aspect of our community that’s often invisible: the challenges people face when transitioning back to the Lancaster community after incarceration. This is Harold’s story . . .

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Seeing the Light - Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization

Today’s post once again focuses on Lancaster – and an aspect of our community that’s often invisible: the challenges people face when transitioning back to the Lancaster community after incarceration. This is Ricky’s story . . .

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The Heart of a Man - Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization

After two heart attacks in three months, Lancaster resident, Edward*, was diagnosed with “a bad heart.” His doctor told him he needed to stop working, as the strain on his heart could kill him. It was a shock and a devastating blow to the broad-shouldered, muscular 42 year-old former athlete, who has worked steadily since his teen years . . .

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Living Proof - Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization

At 6’2”, with broad shoulders, and a deep bass voice (think “James Earl Jones” and go down a notch), Zach might not look like a man who’d recite poetry . . .

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A Whole Lotta TLC

Frank was once “a respectable college-educated former Marine, and business owner with a beautiful, caring wife, three wonderful children, and three beautiful grandchildren.” But after decades of battling alcoholism, he wound up “a penniless, homeless, unemployable drunk.” These are Frank’s own descriptions of his life, in a letter he wrote to the staff of the Transitional Living Center after he successfully completed their “homelessness to housing” program and moved into his own apartment . . .

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How I Spent My Summer (and Most of Autumn)

This past Friday was Graduation Day for 28 professionals in social services, workforce development and criminal justice agencies from across Pennsylvania. I was one of them . . .

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A Sea Change, Rich and Strange

The strong breeze ruffling the curtains of my office window today is a cool weather front coming in, according to the weatherman. A harbinger of the impending change of season. It seems an appropriate metaphor for something else I’ve been feeling lately . . .

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Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice grace goes to prison criminal justice healing communities rmo