Annual Awards

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, for over 230 years, we have honored those among us that exemplify our mission through our annual awards. Below you can meet our award recipients and hear directly from them. You can also help us celebrate by making a gift in honor of our awardees that directly supports our critical work.

Heather Lavelle

Incarcerated Person of the Year,
SCI Muncy

Heather has been incarcerated at SCI Muncy since 2006 and is currently serving a life sentence. Over the past 16 years, she has done so much to better the lives of her peers. As a mentor, she has inspired the women around her. As an advocate, she has touched the heart of many through speaking and writing about the humanity of women in prison.

James Archer

Correctional Employee of the Year
SCI Chester

James has been critical in keeping mentoring running during the pandemic, and also aided the Society in becoming the first provider back in person at SCI Chester. He is committed to preparing guys to come home and is well respected and loved by all of the guys at Chester. He's helped us get creative with how to use technology while we were locked out of the facilities and is always quick to respond.

Phyllis Taylor

Volunteer of the Year,
SCI Phoenix

Phyllis has been a long-term advocate for people who are incarcerated. She is a correctional chaplain and very involved in victim support. Phyllis largely deals with people who are ill and is directly involved with seeing that people in prison get the medical attention they need. She has assembled what she refers to as her “team" to use their expertise to address the health care of incarcerated people.