Our nation’s founders came together in 1786 to form the Pennsylvania Prison Society; a "society" or group of people dedicated to the proposition that all among us are entitled to a life of dignity and caring.  A community that believes that the criminal justice system should restore hope and the possibility of a “life of virtue and happiness,” not dash hope and end lives.  

Since our founding, we have advanced this mission, through wars, pandemics, and political upheaval.  But our focus, just like in centuries past, has not wavered.    

Every year, since our founding, we have honored those among us that exemplify our mission through our annual awards. Below you can meet this year's award recipients and hear directly from them. You can also scroll down to view a list of historic award winners.

Meet our 2023 Annual Award Winners

Andrea Stripen

Volunteer of the Year, Philadelphia Chapter


For the past five years, Andrea has worked weekdays and weekends to address urgent calls for help from incarcerated individuals and their families in Philadelphia. In addition, Andrea has co-led the Prison Society's Philadelphia volunteers, conducting trainings, convening meetings, and ensuring all requests for help from incarcerated people and their families in Philadelphia receive prompt attention. Her efforts have consistently ensured that these pleas receive the attention and support they deserve.

With this award, we proudly acknowledge and honor Andrea's unwavering commitment to promoting health, safety, and dignity behind bars. Her invaluable contributions have made a significant impact on the lives of Pennsylvanians impacted by incarceration, exemplifying the very essence of dedication and compassion.

Georgia Dovshek

Correctional Employee of the Year, Washington County Jail

Georgia is the Food Services Manager at Washington County Jail. In the world of corrections, food service can significantly influence mood and morale, making it a critical factor. Concerns about food quality also rank among the most prevalent complaints received by the Prison Society from individuals incarcerated in county prisons.

Georgia’s dedication to using clean, fresh ingredients and maintaining an impeccable kitchen fosters an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Beyond her culinary talents, Georgia's impact is transformative. She shares holiday joy through special meals, empowers inmates with culinary skills, and cultivates a sense of community that vendors like Aramark can't replicate.

With this award, we honor Georgia's unwavering commitment to health, safety, and dignity behind bars. Her contributions enrich lives and perfectly embody our values.

Kareem (Kerry) McNeil

Incarcerated Person of the Year, SCI Phoenix

Kareem’s 40-year commitment to the SCI Phoenix community is truly remarkable. He co-founded the Real Street Talk Foundation, which focuses on guiding young people away from actions that may lead to incarceration. Their recent "Apology Summit," centered on remorse and redemption for lifers, victims, and their families, further exemplifies Kareem's deep commitment to restorative justice. Additionally, Kareem helped start an organization called Pull of Gravity, aimed at assisting men in their reentry into communities, offering mentorship for successful reintegration.

Kareem's leadership, boundless compassion, and enduring impact on the lives of those within the SCI Phoenix community and beyond are truly commendable. With this award, we celebrate Kareem's leadership, compassion, and ongoing impact.

Historic Award Recipients


2022
Heather Lavelle, SCI Muncy, Incarcerated Person of the Year
James Archer, SCI Chester, Correctional Employee of the Year
Phillis Taylor,
SCI Phoenix, Volunteer of the Year

2021
Paul Schuelter, SCI Camp Hill, Incarcerated Person of the Year
Marion Damick, Allegheny Chapter, Volunteer of the Year
Cheryl Steberger, Lancaster County Prison Warden, Correctional Employee of the Year

2020
Kim Drum, Correctional Professional of the Year
Kevin Brown, SCI Chester, Incarcerated Person of the Year
Dave Moyer, Official Visitor of the Year

2019
Malik Neal, Philadelphia Chapter, Volunteer of the Year
Sam Barlow, SCI Coal Township, Incarcerated Person of the Year
Tom McGinley, SCI Coal Township, Correctional Professional of the Year

2018
Daniel Miniarchick, Centre County Prison, Correctional Employee of the Year
Rebecca Mitchell, SCI Huntingdon, Official Visitor of the Year
Kirby Keller, SCI Dallas, Incarcerated Person of the Year

2017
Gene Breisch, SCI Muncy, Official Visitor of the Year
Joyce Schofield, SCI Muncy, Incarcerated Person of the Year
Major Gina Clark, SCI Graterford, Correctional Professional of the Year

2016
Magaleen Stewart, SCI Muncy, Incarcerated Person of the Year
Carolyn Robinson, Lebanon County, Volunteer of the Year
Jill Scheppler, Correctional Administrator of the Year
Senator Shirley Kitchen

2015
Gary Brown,
Incarcerated Person of the Year

2014
Franklin Castile, SCI Smithfield, Incarcerated Person of the Year 
David Young, SCI Muncy, Volunteer of the Year

2013
Gerome Walsh, SCI Dallas, Correctional Professional of the Year 
Elsie McCullaugh, Blair County, Volunteer of the Year 
William Payne, Prisoner of the Year

2011
Janie Byrd, SCI Muncy, Volunteer of the Year
Dennis Nicholson, SCI Retreat, Prisoner of the Year

2010
Stan Washington, SCI Somerset, Prisoner of the Year
Barbara Price McHale, Convener of the Year
Joe Nish, SCI Waymart, Correctional Officer of the Year

2009
Sharon Wiggins, SCI Muncy, Prisoner of the Year
Marsha Levick, Meritorious Service
Josephine Rhyder, Carbon County, Volunteer of the Year

2008
Paul Perry,
SCI Graterford, Incarcerated Person of the Year
Arthur Clark Developed Clemency Project, Justice 
David DiGuglielmo, SCI Graterford, Correctional Professional of the Year

2007
David Ruovsky and Jonathon Feinberg, Meritorious Service 
Dr. Nicholas Scharff, Corrections Professional of the Year
Jerry L. Mims, SCI Graterford, Prisoner of the Year

2006
Caig A. Lowe, Pike County Correctional Facility, Corrections Professional of the Year
Richie J. Marra, SCI Chester, Prisoner of the Year
James Syphers, Fayette County chapter, Official Visitor of the Year
Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll, Meritorious Service 

2005
Anita Alberts, Esq. and Martha Sperling, Esq., Meritorious Service
Greg Gaertner, Corrections Professional of the Year
Clarence R. Davis, SCI Retreat, Prisoner of the Year

2004
Stephen Knight, SCI Pine Grove, Prisoner of the Year

2003
Michael Moore, SCI Dallas, Prisoner of the Year
Norman Johnston, Meritorious Service 

2002
Douglas Hollis, SCI Mahanoy, Prisoner of the Year
Sharon Dietrich, Community Legal Services, Meritorious Service

2001
Commer Glass, SCI Graterford, Prisoner of the Year
Joe Heckle, Volunteer of the Year
James J. McKenna, Jr., Ph.D, Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year

2000
Jon Yount, SCI Huntingdon, Prisoner of the Year
George and Nan McVaugh, Volunteers of the Year
David Richman, Esq., Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year

1999
Cyd Charisse Berger, SCI Cambridge Springs, Prisoner of the Year
Rita Foderaro, Centre County, Volunteer of the Year
Tom Stachelek, SCI Dallas, Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional
Stephanus Barth and Gillian Barth, Distinguished Service
Julia Hall, Ph.D., Outstanding Performance as President

1998
Donald Vaughn, SCI Graterford,
Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year
Lewis C. Rhodes, Volunteer of the Year
Kevin Lively, SCI Huntingdon, Prisoner of the Year

1997
Harriet Kaylor, Ph.D.,
Huntingdon Chapter, Volunteer of the Year
James Taylor, SCI Graterford, Prisoner of the Year

1996
Marie Scott, SCI Muncy, Prisoner of the Year
Tom Raiker, Volunteer of the Year
Bradley Bridge, Esq., Meritorious Service 

1995
John Hargreaves,
Volunteer of the Year
Thurman Ali Bonner, SCI Muncy, Prisoner of the Year
Ann Schwartzman, Meritorious Service 

1994
Judith Zucker, Aline Wolf, Matthew Epps, Julia Cass, Meritorious Service 
Elizabeth Alexander, Scott Burris, Angus R. Love, Robet W. Meek, Stefan Presser, David Rudovsky, Attorneys on the Austin v. Lehman Team

1993
Sharon Wiggins, Thomas O'Rourke, Janet Leban, Finn Hornum, Meritorious Service 
David Williams, William Gonzalez, Sharon Fowler, Bruce Oxford, Madeline Ramos-Pagan, Awards for Outstanding Performance in the Community Service Orders Project

1992
Flora Belle McKinney, Board member 
Allen Hornblum, Chief of Staff (City of Philadelphia Sheriff's Office) 
Michael Clate, Convener (Allegheny Chapter) Gary Rock, SCI Huntingdon 
Tyone Werts
, SCI Graterford

1991
Alvin Bronstein, Esq.
Gretchen Kelley
, Cumberland County Convener
Mamie Fains, Retired Regional Director, Community Corrections, Eastern Region

1990
David S. Owens Jr, past commissioner of the Department of Corrections
Melvin Heller
Jane Crosby
, Volunteer of the Year
Jesse Kithcart and Thomas Sim, Incarcerated People of the Year
James McKenna and Bella J. Muir

1989
Pat Finio
Steve Blackburn,
Incarcerated Person of the Year
Jane Johnson, Volunteer of the Year
Allen Kukovich, State Representative
Angus Love Esq., Montgomery County Legal Services
Edmund H. Lyons, Superintendent, Philadelphia Prisons

1988
Diane Metzger,
Incarcerated Person of the Year
Theo Wilkins and Heine Rathmann, Volunteers of the Year
H. William DeWeese, Meritorious Service 

1987
Rev. John A. Parkinson, Board Member, Chaplain to Philadelphia Prisons
Lois Williamson
Robert Earl Barnes,
Incarcerated Person of the Year
Joan Gauker, founder of Graterfriends 
Alexine L. Atherton,  President of the Board of Directors

1986
Ted Klugman, Volunteer of the Year
John D. Case, Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year
Rick Nichols
Raymond B. Crawford
, Incarcerated Person of the Year

1985
Bernice O'Hara
, Staff member
Dr. Rose Cologne, Volunteer of the Year
Rendell A. Davis, former Executive Director

1984
Kimmett Edgar, Volunteer of the Year
John Woestendiek
John Conrad
, Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year

1983
Dr. Philip WithinSarah H. Shakespeare, Visitor of the Year
Kenneth A. Tervalon, Life Skills program coordinator
William J. Kennedy, Board member

1982
Chuck Stone
Dr. Anna Zeigler
, Volunteer of the Year
David Rudovsky, Esq
Joseph Rhodes, Jr

1981

John Sweeny
Stepen Salisbury
Edmund B. Spaeth, Jr

1980
William G. Nagel
Paul Wahrhaftig
Rev. Richard Swartout
Albert Froy

1979

Anthony J. SciricaMarie Hamilton

1978

Frederick H. Downs Jr.
Jere Krakoff, Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year
Dave and Peggy Lauder, Volunteers of the Year

1977
The Bethlehem Globe Times and The Call Chronicle Newspapers
Gerard T. Frey
, Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional of the Year
Acel Moore and Wendell Rawls, Jr.
Frances P. Kellogg

1976

Loretta SchwartzWCAU News Radio (BIll Rohrer, Steve Reed, Greg Morrison and Joel Spivak)
John Otto Reinemann

1975

John GunitherDr. Thorsten Sellin

1974

Barbara Fruchter and Constance Voynow Robert W. KotzbauerDr. Thomas W. Georges, Jr, Meritorious Service 

1973
Donald L. BarlettJames B. Steele