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.>

Photos: Crowd, panel and story booths energize gathering

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

Tell us your story

Photos: Prison reform advocate Ismael Nazario shared his experience Saturday at The Reentry Project Story Booth.

Staffers from The Reentry Project, WHYY Newsworks and PhillyCAM recorded the testimony of participants who volunteered to share their journeys through reentry Saturday during a symposium in West Philadelphia.

And we did it again Monday evening at our first community event:

If These Walls Could Talk: Solving Reentry and Recidivism

Stay tuned to this site to learn about future events and story booths. We will share those stories on this site when the recordings are produced.

About Ismael Nazario:

You can learn more about Ismael Nazario by watching his talk at TEDxNewYork: What I learned as a kid in jail

From ted.com:

As a teenager, Ismael Nazario was sent to New York’s Rikers Island jail, where he spent 300 days in solitary confinement — all before he was ever convicted of a crime. Now as a prison reform advocate he works to change the culture of American jails and prisons, where young people are frequently subjected to violence beyond imagination. Nazario tells his chilling story and suggests ways to help, rather than harm, teens in jail.

Fathers discuss reconnecting with their children

Reporter Trenae Nuri speaks with fathers about their experience reconnecting with children after returning home. Camera and Editing by Ariel Taylor.

The series features stories about the Reentry Coalition, Think Tank, ex-offender employment through Community Empowerment and Community Learning Center, housing with Why Not Prosper and stories of fathers reuniting with their children at The Center for Returning Citizens.

Nonprofit guides women through reentry


Reporter Rugiatu Conteh spoke with Rev. Michelle Simmons about her successful housing program for women in transition. Camera and Editing by Sybil White

PhillyCAM Voices is a new community news show highlighting political, cultural and civic events in Philadelphia and is dedicating its March show to reentry awareness.

The series features stories about the Reentry Coalition, Think Tank, ex-offender employment through Community Empowerment and Community Learning Center, housing with Why Not Prosper and stories of fathers reuniting with their children at The Center for Returning Citizens.

Don’t miss our free newsletter!

newsletterIn this week’s edition:

Hope behind bars. How ban-the-box rules help ex-offenders, hurt women, & young people. Employment status is key predictor of recidivism. Ex-drug dealers turn their lives around at ShopRite, but what about the misery they caused on the street?

View it here: Great weekend reading and viewing

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