Reentry Initiative to Host Criminal Justice Resource Fair, Conference at Penn

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820March 18, 2014

Cornel West, a professor at the Union Theological Seminary, will deliver the keynote address at “Breaking Down Walls: Mass Incarceration Meets the Academy,” on Saturday, March 29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St.

Sponsored by the Goldring Reentry Initiative, a program within Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice that helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society, “Breaking Down Walls” will include opening remarks from Heather Ann Thompson, a professor at Temple University, along with a panel discussion on research and practice as it relates to social service agencies, city government, activists, religious organizations and the Philadelphia Prison System.

Breaking Down Walls” will also feature a resource fair for formerly incarcerated individuals between 8:30 and 9 a.m. and from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the Penn Museum’s Kintner-Dietrich Galleries.

Nearly 30 organizations addressing basic reentry needs, such as housing, employment, education, legal services, substance abuse and mental health treatment will be at the resource fair, including Impact Services, Mural Arts Restorative Justice Program, Attic Youth Center and Women Against Abuse.

Since its inception in 2011, the Goldring Reentry Initiative has helped 165 formerly incarcerated people and has created internship opportunities for 23 social work students to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to operate effectively within the criminal justice system.

The GRI is the only university-based field placement opportunity in the country that trains graduate social work students in criminal justice while bridging the service gap between jail and the community.   

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