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Successful Reentrant Shares About Her Experience

Tags: Muncy
April 24, 2023 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

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Emily Smith was incarcerated for 12 years at SCI Muncy before her release in Nov. 2021. She has since thrived in her reentry and was recommended by Deputy Superintendent for Facilities Management William Frantz as a shining example of reentry success.

In honor of Second Chance Month, Emily shared about her incarceration, her reentry, and her advice for her peers:

DOC: You were very busy at SCI Muncy! Deputy Frantz said you were a Certified Peer Specialist, taught Aerobics, completed the Machine Shop program and graduated from the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) program. Were there any other programs or courses you took that you especially liked?

Emily Smith: At this point in my life, the Machine Shop class was the most beneficial program, hands down. But I never would've signed up for that class if I hadn't been assigned to the plumbing crew when I first got to Muncy. I learned SO MUCH thanks to my time spent in maintenance. I had incredible bosses that took the time to teach me really valuable trades. It was the work I did in maintenance that led me to sign up for the machine shop class later on.

DOC: What did you do at the Machine Shop at Muncy? Did you earn a certification?

ES: Mr. Alexander taught us everything from G-coding to program simulation to CNC machining and even manual machine operation. At the time I had no idea how valuable that class would be. Mr. A. and the tutors made it SO fun to learn this stuff. I was basically being taught the fundamentals of working in manufacturing and had no clue! I just thought I was making cool stuff to mail home to my family! But yes, we did get a certificate of completion for the number of hours we were in the class.

DOC: Deputy Frantz said the Machine Shop helped you find your current field; what is your current field?

I work at GBC Advanced Materials. It's a ceramic and glass parts manufacturer, and I'm a CNC machine programmer and operator. I use my brain A LOT at work.

DOC: What was the reentry process like for you?

A whirlwind. I was fortunate enough to work in the same building as the reentry department, so I spent a lot of time picking the staff's brains over there. I asked a lot of questions and took advantage of any and every group I could get into regarding reentry. I also began having really honest talks with my family and the people I'd be leaving behind. It was hard but exciting. Once I was out, it was all about adjusting to life as a mom of a teen, a humble daughter and a sister. I had a hard time finding my place and some days I still do, but I go to counseling and I pray a lot. I just clung to God and I said "yes" to the opportunities. He put on my path.

DOC: Were there any DOC employees that really helped you or that you especially appreciate?

ES: Obviously Mr. Alexander. He has a really great approach as a teacher, and I am in awe of how much that guy knows about making stuff. He helped me through some tough times by just teaching me how to create. That's pretty powerful stuff. And, of course, my maintenance bosses!! I never have to pay a repairman now because I know how to fix all my own stuff! I mean, there was a lot of staff there that helped me and it would be obnoxious of me to shout them all out. They know who they are.

DOC: What advice do you have to individuals who are currently incarcerated? How about fellow reentrants?

ES: If you're still in there I would say take advantage of any and every group, activity, class, job… whatever is being offered. Be open to learning new things and be open to learning from each other.

And to people who just got out, I'd tell to take it very slow and be honest in all the steps you take each day. Staying humble is a must. Its so easy to get sucked into this world out here but it's important as a reentrant to set the standard for the next generation. We got a second chance and we need to honor that as best we can.

A graphic highlighting Emily Smith and featuring a picture of her doing yoga. It says "Why does reentry matter to you?" and "Emi

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