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Inaugural Class of Certified Recovery Specialists Graduates at Huntingdon

Tags: Huntingdon
January 15, 2024 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

An incarcerated individual receives a certificate while five DOC employees stand at the front of a room and other individuals watch.

​Over the summer of 2023, SCI Huntingdon was given the opportunity to host the first Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) training. The course consisted of 78 hours of training followed by a test to receive a CRS certification through the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB). Those certified as CRS will be able to work inside the institution, and upon release they will have the opportunity to enter a growing career field.

All 17 inmates who attempted the test in October achieved a passing grade and participated in a graduation ceremony in December.

The course is taught by Drug and Alcohol Program Manager Angela Grannas, who is trained through the PCB as a facilitator. The DOC has received a grant to provide the materials and testing at no charge to the incarcerated students. A CRS certification allows individuals with a history of addiction and 18 months of consecutive recovery the opportunity to use their past to help others begin their path toward sobriety.

After it began at Huntingdon, Grannas also brought the course to SCI Cambridge Springs, which is graduating on Jan. 24; and SCI Houtzdale, which will be testing soon. Grannas will teach the course at SCI Muncy and SCI Camp Hill this winter and spring before scheduling other facilities throughout the year.

“We at the Division of Treatment Services are very excited about this initiative and possible job opportunity for those re-entering into the community,” Grannas said. “Certified Recovery Specialists are working in their communities to assist those who are new to the recovery process. The classes have gone well. The program is very interactive and requires a lot of discussion and skill practice.  Those who have participated have had great attitudes and have shown desire to help others.”

“Participants have performed well on the exam, which makes me proud to know they are taking the program seriously,” Grannas said.

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