Civic Writing


Problems Facing The PA Prison System Inhabitants: What You Can Do To Help 

Currently, prisons and jails within Pennsylvania do not offer a sufficient amount of knowledge and experience opportunities to inmates. In order to live a successful life after prison, they need to gain proper education and skill in professional fields while incarcerated to better prepare them for their futures after being released. 

The way the current system is operating does not allow inmates to prosper and reach their full potential while incarcerated. 

The Department of Corrections (DOC) does provide programs and courses to inmates, but according to this chart, it is apparent that a lot of these facilities offer none, or very little program choices for inmates to further their education. The DOC is confident that their efforts are benefiting the inmates, but it is important to recognize that there is always room for improvement. 

The system should be reformed in order to give those who currently are or have been incarcerated a chance to live decent lives. 

Most individuals will eventually be released, so it is important to invest in resources to improve the quality of life for re-entrants into society. This can be accomplished by having accessible resources and information available to inmates.  

Many of the individuals incarcerated lack job history, professional skills, and/or have poor school records and low reading levels. 

How to help 

As a busy college student, it might seem like an impossible task to try and make a change within the Pennsylvania Prison System. 

There are a lot of changes and developments that need to be addressed to fully accomplish this goal, but we are looking for help and to raise awareness, no matter how small or big the action. 

Hannah Carricato, a student in Dr. Mando’s Civic Writing course, is researching ways to help combat this issue with the help of other Millersville University students. A book drive will be held on campus to collect old or unused textbooks that can be repurposed and donated to state and local prisons. 

She asks that anyone with gently used and unwanted textbooks can donate them to help further the knowledge of individuals who are currently incarcerated, to help prepare them for a better future. 

“My hope is to gather enough educational textbooks to donate that will help inmates acquire knowledge in fields they normally would not have the opportunity to,” Carricato says.  

For students wanting to help, but not available to take part in the book drive, there are many other community organizations working towards this same goal. Donating to these organizations: Books Through Bars, Prison Book Program, and Women’s Prison Book Project will place textbooks directly into prison libraries.   

Current Inhabitant 

Brandon, a current resident at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Huntingdon, expressed his interest and mentioned other inmates’ requests. 

“Human Resources, Communications, and Psychology definitely,” Brandon says, are some topics they would be interested in reading about. 

Aside from the trade programs they have access to, like plumbing, welding, and construction, they do not learn any other crucial, foundational subjects that are traditionally taught throughout schooling and secondary education.  

For more information on the book drive, here is the flyer: SWP Flyer