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Culminating a year-long reporting collaboration, Wednesday night, The Reentry Project, Frontline Dads and The Center for Returning Citizens held a forum to discuss strategies for improving the system for people coming back to society after time in jail or prison. Jeffrey Abramowitz had a career as a trial lawyer before spending five years in prison.
For trying to play peacemaker, Jojuan Powell went to jail. Authorities didn’t believe her claim that she was trying to break up a fight outside her Mantua home last May. So after a teen emerged from the brawl with a broken arm, Powell, 28, found herself behind bars on felony assault charges – wondering how she’d ever afford the $2,501 bail a judge set as her price for freedom.
Jeff Abramowitz knows firsthand that the biggest problem confronting formerly-incarcerated people in Philadelphia is knowing where to go and how to get support once they leave the prison system. He’s been out of prison for more than two years and owns a workforce development agency.
Nearly 3 million children in the U.S. have a parent in jail or prison. Local author Becky Birtha is hoping her new children’s book, “Far Apart, Close in Heart,” will help those kids express how they’re feeling – and teach their friends and classmates what it’s like to have a parent behind bars.
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Way up in Northeastern Pennsylvania near the New York state border, SCI Waymart houses the state’s most seriously mentally ill prisoners – those serving time while suffering with schizophrenia, major depression and other disorders. If you go through the metal detectors and down a winding series of hot, echoing hallways in the Wayne County prison, eventually, you’ll find a classroom.