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Summer Institute Focuses on Reentry

September 21, 2018

By Tim Kelly

DOC Communications

(Tim Kelly, DOC Communications)

For over 10 years, the Community Partners for Transition Solutions' Summer Institute has brought together reentry professionals focused on learning more about evidence-based practices and programs. This year, the conference traveled to Eastern Washington for the first time and had a lot of Department of Corrections attendees ready to learn the latest effective practices.

Staff from Airway Heights Corrections Center helped to host the conference, shared a presentation on the many programs at the facility, and offered a tour of the facility in the evening. The Summer Institute featured service and resource providers who gave presentations and distributed up to date information on program access.

Programs such as Yoga Behind Bars, Sustainability in Prisons Project, and Computer Programming (youtube video) help to teach new skills to the incarcerated population. Having new skills could help ease the transition back into the general public by preparing individuals to reenter communities and obtain employment. Events like the Summer Institute allow the department to stay current on evidence-based programming to further the opportunities for growth among inmates, a key value of the department.

Members of the Statewide Family Council took part in a panel discussing best practices for preparing families for reentry. The discussion featured seven family members partaking in fielding questions from the audience. Keynote speaker Dr. Gary Christensen focused on applying policy and practice to improve public safety. He spoke about the importance of maximizing resources to realize a unified approach to long-term public safety outcomes.

Participants were also challenged with a reentry simulation showing all the obstacles that people could face when releasing.

According to formerly federally incarcerated individual Daniel Wise, “Programming is the only thing that is gonna give you the ability to change.”