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21 Graduate CPS Training at Huntingdon

Tags: Huntingdon
May 10, 2019 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

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SCI Huntingdon had 21 inmates graduate the Certified Peer Specialist training conducted by Richard (Al) Landsberry (SCI Rockview) and Paul Haines  (SCI Muncy) on May 3. These inmates will receive certification from  the Pennsylvania Certification Board for 75 hours of peer specialist certification training.

Lynn Patrone, from the Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, attended the graduation ceremony along with many staff members from Huntingdon. The administrative staff at Huntingdon has shown strong support of the CPS program and recognizes the importance of the services provided by the CPS inmates. 

Huntingdon now has 38 active Certified Peer Specialists who will be utilized to address the needs of the inmate population throughout the facility, including the Diversionary Treatment Unit and the Restricted Housing Unit. As Deputy Superintendent for Centralized Services Scott Walters likes to say, "every door, every day." The Certified Peer Specialist inmates all have a history of mental health concerns and include veterans, juvenile lifers, and bilingual individuals. The diversity in the selection of the CPS inmates will be beneficial in providing services to our large population of inmates with mental health issues.

At the graduation ceremony, the graduates were given the opportunity to express what the training meant to them. Many inmates noted that this was an opportunity to give back instead of taking from the community. They discussed how the program showed they could relate to others because of their own experience. The class brought many inmates out of their shells and will help them in the recovery process and provided them with the skills to help others. One individual stated that he did not think change would be possible in jail but now realizes that change starts within ourselves and can happen wherever we are. Another individual appreciated the opportunity to attend the training as it will assist him in pursuing a career of service to others when he returns to the community.

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