Rmo

After Eight Years . . . Eight Days of Gratitude - Part 3

Here’s the third installment of my “8 days of gratitude” for the people who have been part of this journey, as I wind down my 8 years as Director of the #RMOforReturningCitizens:

Today I’m grateful for the many churches, colleges, civic groups, conference organizers, book clubs, libraries, and others who have invited me to speak about Grace Marie Hamilton’s work in the prisons, restorative justice, prisoner reentry, trauma, the maze of the criminal justice system, and related topics over the past 8+ years, and all that I’ve learned from them . . .

Available as an e-book here

Read more.

Tagged as: grace goes to prison restorative justice book tour rmo

After Eight Years . . . Eight Days of Gratitude - Part 2

Here’s the second installment of my “8 days of gratitude” for the people who have been part of this journey, as I wind down my time as Director of the #RMOforReturningCitizens:

Today, I am so very grateful for the essential and deeply humbling lessons I learned from the first three incarcerated people I met when I started this journey . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: restorative justice rmo

After Eight Years . . . Eight Days of Gratitude

After 8 years serving the #RMOforReturningCitizens, I have 8 DAYS left in the office before stepping down from my role as RMO Director. (ICYMI
here’s a link to the original announcement about my decision and what’s next for me . . . )

So, for each of those remaining 8 days, I want to do one of the things our returning citizens have taught me: to express gratitude every day for some of the key people who have been my mentors, teachers, encouragers and who have walked so much of this journey with me. Here’s the first installment.

Read more.

Tagged as: restorative justice rmo

1000th person trained in Trauma, Resilience, Trauma-Informed Care

1000. That’s the number of people in Lancaster County who have now completed one of the trauma trainings I’ve led with our team of trainers through the #RMOforReturningCitizens and partners over the past 18 months. This is a pretty significant milestone in the collective community effort toward making Lancaster County a trauma-informed community.

We set out a vision several years ago to “build the foundation for a trauma-informed criminal justice system in Lancaster County.” And with this milestone, we’re well on our way . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

After Trauma: A focus on strengths, competencies and resilience

A recent article on the international ACES Connection online community highlighted the importance of focusing on people’s strengths and competencies, rather than shortcomings and deficiencies.

Author of the article, Dana Brown, writes, “This over-focus, while not characterizing all policies and programs, is still too common, nevertheless. It has shaped research as well as social programs. During service delivery, collection of the adverse details about people’s lives is often necessary but it is not sufficient.

A focus on individuals’ strengths and competencies is essential . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

Trauma trainings for Lancaster County corrections and parole officers

I recently led 7 days of training about trauma, resilience, ACEs and the links to addiction, mental health issues and criminal justice system involvement for about 400 corrections officers and parole officers in Lancaster County through my role as Director of the RMO for Returning Citizens. We trained the entire staff of Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole, and the entire staff of Lancaster County Prison . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

Trauma-Informed Criminal Justice: Reflections on first round of training

I recently completed a first round of trainings about trauma for Lancaster County Prison staff and staff of Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole, along with my wonderful training team (details below). Here are some reflections on lessons learned from this first phase of our work to build the foundation for a trauma-informed criminal justice system in Lancaster County . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

Trauma Informed Criminal Justice-Part 2

How prevalent is a history of trauma among people who are incarcerated or otherwise in the criminal justice system? According to SAMHSA’s GAINS Center, here are some statistics . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

How being trauma-informed improves criminal justice responses

“Although prevalence estimates vary, there is consensus that high percentages of justice-involved women and men have experienced serious trauma throughout their lifetime. The reverberating effects of traumatic experiences can challenge a person’s capacity for recovery and pose significant barriers to accessing services, often resulting in an increased risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system.” – SAMHSA GAINS Center – “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses”

In our previous series of articles about the connections between trauma, addiction, mental health and crime, I presented . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

Traumatic Childhood Experiences Linked to Adult Addictions, Mental Illness and Crime - Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article on trauma, ACEs and links to crime, addiction, and mental illness, various studies have found that early psychological trauma may actually cause lasting changes in the brain that are connected with addictions, mental illness and aggressive or violent behavior later in life.

What do these changes in the brain actually look like? The Family Policy Council of Washington State created a presentation on “The High Cost of Adverse Childhood Experiences.” Here are a few of the slides from that presentation that explain the changes in the chemical and physical development of the brain (“Biological Effects of Abuse & Neglect”) that occur with various traumatic experiences during childhood…

Tagged as: rmo trauma-informed care trauma resilience aces

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

Read more.

Tagged as: grace goes to prison restorative justice criminal justice rmo alternatives to incarceration trauma reentry

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice peace criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

Tagged as: city life lancaster pa restorative justice criminal justice rmo

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 . . .

Read more.

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