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Reentry Spotlight: The LEAD Fellowship Program at Eastern State

Tags: Reentry
April 16, 2024 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

Five people sit on steps at a museum.

​Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is a museum focused on criminal justice reform on the site of the first country’s penitentiary. The facility, located in Philadelphia, housed approximately 85,000 people during its 142 years of operation. It now welcomes the public to teach visitors about its history and criminal justice policy in the United States.

Among its programs is one designed specifically for reentrants: the LEAD (Lived Experience Activating Dialogue) Fellowship, a holistic reentry initiative that gives individuals returning from incarceration the tools and support for a successful reentry. Participants earn $17 per hour and work 20 hours per week in this four-month program, which includes hands-on job training. Fellows contribute to projects within the museum, including marketing, research and community engagement. They are also provided access to housing support, financial education, career services and much more.

Fellows learn how museums work starting with Eastern State, but they also have the opportunity to visit museums around the country (pending parole approval). The program helps them secure full-time work with a museum following graduation.

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