The Lancaster County Reentry Coalition (formerly the RMO for Returning Citizens) is a community collaborative made up of 65+ partners from social service providers, local government, prison representatives, reentrants & the faith-based community.
In order to promote the development of the Coalition and improve our efficacy at providing reentry services to those exiting the prison system, we proposed engaging in a Strategic Planning process that will determine our goals and outcomes for the future. The LCRC has hired a new Coordinator, Carrie Kurtz, who works with the Coalition members and a consultant to lead this process.
Because of the complexity of creating a Reentry Coalition, the LCRC has recommended that a strategic planning Consultant be used to guide relevant stakeholders through the planning process. An integrated Coalition approach addresses an identified need in the community, creates a unified, efficient, and cost-effective approach to providing reentry services, ensures services provided are based on research-based best practices, and includes individuals from the criminal justice system, human services, and local community members.
The Lancaster County Reentry Coalition is happy to welcome Kerry Washington as our experienced organizational Consultant to work with the Steering Committee and their stakeholders to develop a strategic plan that will guide the direction, priorities and key business decision-making of the LCRC over the next three (3) years to effectively address individuals reentering the Lancaster Community from incarceration.
“It sounds like you have all laid some pretty good groundwork and so I’m excited to help as you continue this work,” says Kerry.
Meet Kerry Washington, LCRC Consultant
Currently, I am an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice-Criminology and serve as the department chair at Lycoming College. I have over fifteen years of experience in the field of criminal justice and have been a faculty member in the Department of Criminal Justice-Criminology at Lycoming College since 2009 (please see attached CV). Prior to working in academia, I worked for several years in social services and have experience with direct service and case management.
My area of expertise is in correctional policy, specifically gender and crime and reentry, and program evaluation. I have conducted and published research on correctional programs at the county, state, and federal levels that aims to improve the effectiveness of current practices. In 2015, I began an extensive recidivism project in Lycoming County, which collects data and outcomes on individuals who have been released from the county prison and who have successfully completed adult probation. My background, expertise, and experience working with criminal justice stakeholders make me well-suited to provide strategic planning services. I have a strong understanding of the research on reentry and how to apply this research to develop more effective approaches.
In addition to my academic background, I also have experience providing reentry strategic planning services to counties. In 2015, I was hired as a consultant for Lycoming County (funded through a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant) to lead their strategic planning process for reentry and I am currently working with Northumberland County in a similar role. I am also actively involved in the Pennsylvania Reentry Council and am familiar with the process undertaken in other counties and what has worked well.
My involvement in the council has also kept me updated more broadly on reentry work across the state. My approach to the reentry strategic planning process is to work closely with a steering committee, made up of key representatives from the county’s criminal justice advisory board (CJAB), to identify which stakeholders should be a part of the strategic planning process. Prior to beginning the process, it is helpful to conduct a needs assessment of community agencies, along with a survey of individuals released from the county prison to identify their barriers.
From there, a systems analysis is conducted, using the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) approach. Sub-committees are formed, which focus on each major issue (such as housing, substance abuse, employment, etc.) and goals and objectives to address these issues are identified. From there, sub-committee members outline the steps that need to be taken to achieve those goals, along with outcome measures. Throughout the strategic planning process, it is beneficial to have various community agencies give brief presentations to the group about their work to facilitate networking and collaboration. Periodic meetings with the steering committee throughout the process is beneficial to ensure that the planning process is staying on task and to discuss future steps.
We look forward to working with Kerry as we work to improve our program and partnerships in Lancaster County to help our reentrants.
To support the Lancaster County Reentry Coalition (formerly known as RMO) click here.
About the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County
About Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County The Community Action Partnership is Lancaster County’s largest anti-poverty organization, helping low-income families move toward self-sufficiency. CAP’s service profile interrupts inter-generational poverty with programs that support families and individuals at every age and place in life, in the areas of education and child development, health and nutrition, household stability and safety and empowerment. For more information, visit https://caplanc.org.