[two_third]In 2009 Thresholds in Delaware County initiated a program aimed at helping our graduates re-enter society. Chester County Thresholds began a similar program shortly thereafter.
Thresholds volunteers had long believed that our organization could do more to help our clients after they are released. To this end, a committee met in 2007 with the goal of accumulating helpful information. Local agencies, which might provide assistance to ex-offenders, were contacted. Later, state and national organizations were also included.
All of this resulted in a class being added to each teaching cycle. At that time, clients receive a booklet, an emergency card, relevant materials and information, and questions are answered.
The Reentry Directory, sub titled Opening the Door to a Better Future (pictured at right) gives the address, phone numbers and web sites for more than 50 organizations. Our callers confirm that they provide services in the following areas: education, employment, housing, food and clothing, and health, as well as family, financial and legal aid. Organizations are listed under these categories in the booklet. The emergency card gives the phone number for AA, NA, medical crisis centers, the suicide prevention lifeline, the O.D. help line, and the Salvation Army.
Also provided at these meetings is information from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Re-Entry Handbook, as well as literature from organizations such as PA Career Link, the Pennsylvania Prison Society and Baker Industries. At SCI-Chester, a human services professional is on hand. She explains the essentials when applying for a job and role-plays an interview with clients. At the G. W. Hill Correctional Facility, prior to the final meeting, clients summarize their goals and job skills. In this way, specific interests can be addressed at the re-entry session. One of our clients recently said that he got more information and help from this one meeting than in all the years he had spent in prison.[/two_third]
Your opinion of Thresholds
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We would appreciate your opinion on the Thresholds program to teach decision-making skills. Please send us a brief e-mail and tell us whether you would be more willing to consider hiring an ex-inmate, if you knew he or she had completed Thresholds training.