A new, intensive state program aims to help former inmates stay out of prison by giving them access to loans, educational programs and drug and alcohol treatment, state officials said Tuesday.
The court-supervised STRIVE program will serve former inmates in northeastern Pennsylvania by connecting them to a bank, a community college and a behavioral health provider, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections said in announcing the pilot program, which had its first meeting last week.
“The period following incarceration can be daunting for reentrants, particularly if they lack support,” Kelly Evans, deputy secretary for reentry at the Corrections Department, said in a written statement. “By helping put them on a path to success, the STRIVE partners are not only reducing the risk of recidivism, but also strengthening local communities.”
The program is modeled on an existing federal court initiative for central and northeastern Pennsylvania inmates leaving the U.S. prison system. The same private institutions that participate in the federal CARES Program will be involved in the new state program.
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ESSA Bank & Trust, a Stroudsburg-based community bank, will offer money-management classes and loans of up to $15,000 to be used for housing, transportation or education. Additionally, Northampton Community College will provide English language-learner, adult basic education, GED and college-level classes, and Pyramid Healthcare Inc., behavioral health services.
Officials said the program is focused on the Lackawanna County area for now, but has the potential to launch statewide.