At the core of our mission is the belief that all people, regardless of criminal history, should be treated with dignity and compassion. Confinement behind bars should not equate to losing access to personal support networks.
We believe in the power of connection to not only improve individual well-being, but also to improve our communities.
Many of us – on the inside and the outside – are feeling the pains caused by social isolation in new and different ways. That’s why our work to build and repair bridges among people in prison and their communities is needed now more than ever.
Here are just some of the ways we are making an impact:
- We help parents stay engaged
Supporting incarcerated parents and their families is a key component of our work. Our Parenting Program provides incarcerated parents and their co-parents/guardians with the knowledge and understanding they need to be engaged parents.
- We are a place for people experiencing reentry to come for support
Our mentoring program prepares incarcerated men for successful reentry into their communities. We engage participants while they are still incarcerated and stay with them long after their release.
- We are the go-to for people in custody
Incarcerated people have limited access to expensive phone calls and email. The relatively low cost of sending a letter and the fulfilling feeling of receiving one back, make it the primary means of communication for people in prison. We receive approximately 100 letters a week. Every letter receives an individualized response.
- We are a helpline for families
Even during normal times, imprisonment ruptures bonds between incarcerated people, their families, and their communities. The pandemic exacerbated this reality, as prisons have suspended visits and imposed lockdowns that limited access to phones, email, and video calls. Our Family Support Helpline alleviates some of the burden incarceration causes by helping families understand the system, access resources, and become more informed self-advocates.
- We amplify the voices of incarcerated people and their experiences Graterfriends, a newsletter written by and for people in Pennsylvania state custody, has been in print for more than 40 years. The publication serves a vital role in amplifying the voices of incarcerated people and their experiences. We manage the production and distribution of the Graterfriends which has a circulation of more than 900 incarcerated subscribers.
Month after month, year after year, we provide opportunities for people to physically and emotionally connect, offering programming to build and strengthen important interpersonal skills, and advocating for policies and procedures that mitigate social isolation.
YOUR SUPPORT TODAY helps us reach more families across the state and continue to grow and strengthen our critical programming.