“It is an illusion to think that a person can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.”
– Henri Nouwen
The idea of a business for returning citizens was conceived behind the bars of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, one of Pennsylvania’s state prisions. PAR (People Advancing Reintegration) is a peer-to-peer program that was created to help prepare individuals for release back into their communities. The program was conceived and is run by a group of men serving life sentences who have chosen to make a positive impact by helping to prepare individuals for release and reintegration. Despite this preparation, we have witnessed the repeated revolving door phenomena, with released individuals returning to prison for committing a new crime or for a serious parole violation. One of the major issues identified for newly released citizens is employment. If there were a business developed for the purpose of hiring returning citizens, one of the major obstacles in reintegration could be eliminated.
PAR-Recycle Works believes that one of the best crime deterrents is a job. The participants go from costing society to contributing to society through productive output, self-sufficiency and paying taxes. PAR- Recycle Works puts individuals on a path to employment and self sufficiency, thus decreasing significantly the chance to reoffend, thereby reducing crime, strengthening families and keeping our communities safer.
PAR-Recycle Works has adopted a model of structured employment for returning citizens successfully pioneered by RecycleForce in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are most grateful to the staff and employees of RecycleForce for their generous guidance and support in replicating their model for the needs of southeastern Pennsylvania.