Reentry Stories: Returning citizens share their experiences

The Reentry Project and partnering news organizations set up “story booths” during two recent events in Philadelphia, and invited returning citizens to share their experiences with our community.

Staffers and volunteers from PhillyCam filmed while WHYY recorded audio. Reentry Project staffers helped interview participants. This short video was produced and edited by WHYY, with some help from PhillyCam.

These recording were captured after our recent panel discussion – “If These Walls Could Talk: Solving Reentry and Recidivism” – and at the Breaking Down Walls conference a few days earlier.

Until we host more story booths, you can also share your experiences and ideas with the community by leaving a message on our voicemail line. <Give it a try now.>

Philadelphia’s oldest teen lifer won’t seek parole

Philly’s oldest juvenile lifer resentenced, but is it too late?

“I was arrested in Philadelphia at the age of 15. I was in jail quite a few years,” said Joe Ligon, who recently turned 80 in prison. He’s eligible for parole – but will he apply after decades in an institution?

Audio: The Reentry Project joins discussion on women and reentry

Reentry Project editor Jean Friedman-Rudovsky participated in the discussion Wednesday when WHYY’s Radio Times addressed women and reentry. Listen now:

From Radio Times:

Experiencing poverty, domestic abuse and sexual violence as a child lead SUSAN BURTON down a long, dark road of emotional despair. Then, after the hit-and-run incident that killed her five-year-old son, Burton turned to drugs as a way to cope with her pain. But, it wasn’t until she entered the California prison system and spent nearly two decades behind bars until she finally received drug treatment and therapy. In this hour, Marty talks with Burton about her memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton which she coauthored with Cari Lynn that tells Burton’s story of prison, recovery and creating A New Way of Life—a nonprofit that supports formerly incarcerated women. MARIE GOTTSCHALK, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and JEAN FRIEDMAN-RUDOVSKY project editor of The Reentry Project, discuss resources available to women in prison and difficult challenges they face when reentering into society.


New statewide effort launched to help former prisoners stay free

Wolf, Shapiro tout program to help prisoners re-enter society

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

ACLU pushing “smart justice values” on election day in Philadelphia

Ex-offenders get out the vote for Philly DA race

“One more day.” Just hours before the polls opened Tuesday, Nick Pressley gave out his marching orders to a group of canvassers wearing blue T-shirts. The group was gathered on the 15th floor of a Center City office building, just one block from the Philadelphia district attorney’s office.

Juvenile lifers must choose between seeking new sentences and pursuing exoneration

A judge called this juvenile lifer innocent, but he’s still in prison. Will Philly’s next DA let him go home?

Terrance Lewis, sentenced to life for second-degree murder, read the opinion in his prison cell. “The great part was, somebody finally believed me,” he said. “The sad part was, I still got to die in jail.” – Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer