The featured speaker during CRESC’s September 2017 meeting was Shirley Moore Smeal, Executive Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Moore Smeal suggested that the days of "operating in silos" have passed and that the time is ripe for improvements in seeing inmates as individuals. Moore Smeal shared that the PA DOC is taking steps to humanize the incarcerated environment including placing inmates in prisons as close to home as possible to support family support and interaction; assessing inmates to determine individual needs; offering success-oriented educational programs; offering over 28 vocational programs; offering Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) options; and offering Transitional Housing Units (THU's) or Reentry Service Offices (RSO's) and Veterans Service Units (VSU's). Moore Smeal spoke about some new initiatives within the PA DOC including adult coloring books, aromatherapy, fish tanks, colored bed linens, "chill plans" and murals in order to make prions more humanized spaces for confinement. CRESC would like to thank Ms. Moore Smeal for sharing her afternoon with us and giving us insight into the steps that the PA Department of Corrections is taking to humanize the incarcerated environment.
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