Tanya Curtis’ path to re-entry from prison last year looked suspiciously like a dead-end road. She was broke, for one thing. She didn’t have a high school diploma or GED. She had a history of addiction, drug dealing, petty crime.
Ivy Johnson spent 18 years in prison for killing someone in a fight and every day that death weighs on her. “To make amends I have to save another life,” she said. It wasn’t long ago that Johnson graduated from a 10-week program, Women Working for A Change,” that teaches women who have been in prison about self-esteem, active listening, healthy relationships and job preparation.
The fifth cohort of the Mothers in Charge “Women Working for a Change” program graduated during a ceremony Tuesday at the R2L Restaurant at Liberty Place in Center City Philadelphia. The program serves women returning to their communities after incarceration.is a Philadelphia based-violence prevention, education and intervention organization.
June is Reentry Awareness Month and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com are part of the Philadelphia Reentry Reporting Collaborative, a solutions-oriented focus on issues facing people coming out of prison. The piece is part of an occasional series – across the region and across platforms – on the challenges of – and solutions to – prisoner reentry in Philadelphia.
HARRISBURG – State officials are launching the first statewide council to help former prison inmates navigate the challenges of finding housing, work and health care as they adjust to life outside bars. – Sarah Mearhoff, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
The Reentry Project and partnering news organizations hosted a community event Monday evening at the African American Museum in Philadelphia called “If These Walls Could Talk: Solving Reentry and Recidivism.”
In the photographs:
Sara Lomax-Reese, president and CEO of WURD Radio welcomed the audience.
The crowd packed the auditorium and overflowed slightly into the corridor.
From left, host Solomon Jones of WURD moderated a panel including:
• Valerie Todd-Listman – Mothers In Charge, Group Facilitator in the Philadelphia Prisons
• Zane Memeger – Former United States attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
• Leon King II – Former Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner
• Reuben Jones – Co-Founder and Executive Director of Frontline Dads
• Emma Restrepo – Freelance journalist and host at El Zol radio
Returning citizen Lindsey Massarelli of Philadelphia participates in a “Story Booth” which was staffed by WHYY and PhillyCam, as well as The Reentry Project.
This event was organized by WURD Radio, the Philadelphia Media Network, WHYY Newsworks and The Reentry Project.
Generocity Philly reported on the event. Read the story: Here are the 3 steps everyone agrees we need to take to tackle recidivism