Reentry, Day by Day

A ceremony exploring opportunities and barriers to reentry from the Philadelphia Prison System


Fields of Knowledge
  • Comm. Development
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Pedagogy
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI)

Contributing Institutions



Nancy Franke

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web



0% Formal - 100% Informal

Slought and the Goldring Reentry Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) are pleased to announce a celebration and ceremony exploring opportunities and barriers to successful reentry from the Philadelphia Prison System on Thursday, April 30, 2015 from 6-8pm. At the event, clients, as well as their friends and families, will receive a certificate of completion of the GRI program. The event will also include remarks by Dean John L. Jackson, Jr. and Dr. Charles Johnson of SP2, Byron Cotter of the Philadelphia Defender Association, and other community partners in the Philadelphia Prison System.

Incarcerated people are especially marginalized, stigmatized, overwhelmingly people of color, and often live in inner city, minority neighborhoods of low socioeconomic status—the people social work purports to defend. Despite over a century of social work involvement within the criminal justice field and the continuous and growing need for social service support, the GRI is unique within schools of social work, where only 8% of enrolled students have completed fieldwork in criminal justice settings. Social workers must become better trained in understanding and maneuvering through the criminal justice system, as mass incarceration and reentry profoundly affects children, families, and entire communities.

People exiting prison or jail face numerous barriers to successful reintegration; a large majority has limited marketable work experience, low levels of educational or vocational skills, and many have health-related issues, including mental illness and history of substance abuse. Moreover, services for people exiting prison or jail are fragmented—there is little to no communication or continuity between community-based providers and those working inside facilities. As a result, service provision is generally inefficient and ineffective. Programs that utilize the continuum of care model can effectively bridge the gap between prison/jail and the community, and address the issue of recidivism. Inconsistencies in resources, services, and mentorship throughout the reentry process produces additional barriers to successful reentry.

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The Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI) was established in 2011 to address the growing epidemic of mass incarceration and the many barriers individuals incarcerated in the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS) face upon release.

Because of its person-centered and holistic approach, the social work profession is especially well equipped to address the interwoven issues faced by individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated.

By equipping Masters of Social Work (MSW) students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the criminal justice field, the GRI uniquely bridges the service gap between jail and the community in order to support clients in the transition process. The students work with men and women as they transition from the Philadelphia Prison System and into the community. This continuum of care model is crucial for clients to achieve long-term success as they transition back into society.

Mass incarceration is one of the most pervasive —yet invisible and undertreated—social problems to date. As of 2012, approximately one in 35 American adults (2.9%) was incarcerated in prison or jail or on probation or parole.

Here in Philadelphia, the incarcerated population quadrupled between 1980 and 2008; there are approximately 8,000-9,000 adults in jail on any given day. Of those who exit prison or jail, 67.8% are arrested for a new crime within three years. This crisis of mass incarceration impacts not only those who are incarcerated, but the community at large as well.