A unique year-old pilot music program inside Pennsylvania’s largest prison needs funding to keep going. Its early success and relationship with the state offers a look inside our appetite for – and the limits of – a new kind of criminal justice reform.
While serving what was supposed to be a life sentence in prison, Tyrone Werts was influential in bringing the The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to Graterford Prison. The program brings together college students and people serving time to learn from each other about crime, justice and other social concerns.
Over the course of his thirty-three years inside, Luis Suave González, who was sentenced to life when he was still a minor, had never experienced anything like what happened on March 7th in Graterford prison: A visit of from an important group of organizations, represented by their top officials, with the aim of helping a significant number of inmates with their reentry back into society or, at least back into in the Barrio.
En treinta y tres años de reclusión de Luis Suave González, life sentence juvenile, en la prisión de máxima seguridad de Grateford no se veía lo que se vio el pasado 7 marzo: La visita de un importante grupo de organizaciones representadas por sus más altos rangos, con el objetivo de comenzar un proceso de reinserción en la sociedad o al menos en el Barrio, de un significativo número de reclusos.
At age 35, Jermaine Myers has spent most of his adult life incarcerated. The cycle started when he was 16, charged with armed robbery as an adult. He got out at age 21 with the idea of getting a commercial driver’s license. Instead, he said, “I went back to drugs and guns within two months.”
Chris Catona used to spray down sewage for 14 cents an hour on the grounds of SCI Graterford. It was a good gig, his first real one at the state prison, and a big step up from the scraps he could earn doing more general labor inside its walls.