Pennsylvania Prison System Offers Childhood Resource Centers in Visiting Rooms
Date:  02-12-2016

Information on early childhood education programs provided to caregivers of children with incarcerated parents
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced that Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is reaching out to caregivers of children with incarcerated parents in an effort to provide them with information on available early childhood education programs. Childhood Resource Centers will be placed in the visiting rooms of the state’s prisons to help get children of prisoners involved in education programs that will have a positive on effect the children, and hopefully keep the children out of the criminal justice system later in life. According to the Post-Gazette:

“Pennsylvania prisons, starting in Pittsburgh, are pitching existing educational programs for kids, corrections secretary John Wetzel announced Thursday at the halfway house attached to the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh. Mr. Wetzel unveiled the first of a set of displays called Child Resource Centers that will be placed in prison visiting rooms, starting at SCI Pittsburgh. The displays include brochures for early childhood education programs. The hope is that the caregivers of children of prisoners will take the materials. Pennsylvania's roughly 50,000 state prisoners have 81,000 children, Mr. Wetzel said.

Pennsylvania prisons will soon start pitching existing educational programs for kids, and the state corrections secretary used the imposing walls at the former Western Penitentiary today as the setting to tout Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed education budget.

“Spend the money before they get to us,” Mr. Wetzel told around 40 activists and officials. “Isn't America about giving people a fair shot? If we can make significant investments in kids to really give them a fair shot, why shouldn't we do that?”

The Department of Corrections, which worked with the Department of Education and Department of Human Services to prepare the centers, is putting the materials online and is willing to help organizations to reproduce the display.” Read more