"Leaving Jail" is a program meant to address the unique needs of women who are incarcerated, or have recently been released. One thing the program focuses on is the trauma the subject has been through. We spoke with Nicole Jensen, The Program Manager. She says “there is a huge, huge correlation between experiencing trauma, and negative outcomes across the board. It effects brain development, health, chances of addiction.”
The program is being used in Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties. Jensen says carbon counties rate of incarcerated women is 23%... one of the highest in the state...
We also spoke with Lori Vandoren, the Director of Forensic Services for Pinebrook Family Answers in Allentown, where the program is located. Lori says, “We're working with women in the jail providing a variety of evidence based treatment classes and transitioning them out into the community with a very comprehensive re-entry plan to aid in their success once they're released.”
Those involved would go through ten weeks of classes while incarcerated, as well as a six month program when they've completed their sentence.
“Once they're released, we focus things like parenting skills, employment, cognitive behavioral thinking, so they're better prepared with their families in our community.”
When someone is locked up, released, and then gets arrested again it’s called recidivism. Jensen says this is a vicious cycle. “We put them in jail for a few months and they come back out to not only the same situation, but a worse situation. So then we release them back to the same place and expect different results, but we've only added road blocks.”
Because the "leaving jail" program began in September, and is now only on its second class, it's too early to know if it's truly working. If you know someone incarcerated that can benefit from the program you can contact Pinebrook family answers.
Pinebrook Family Answers - 610-774-1458, www.pbfalv.org