The WellSpan Spotlight

Health and wellness

WellSpan grant helps inmates create a successful life beyond jail

WellSpan grant helps inmates create a successful life beyond jail

WellSpan is supporting an initiative in Franklin County that helps incarcerated individuals cope with past traumas so they can reenter society, get involved in the community, and remain out of jail.

The program, called Moving Forward, works with convicted offenders in a safe and supportive group environment that helps them deal with mental health and substance abuse issues, and other social factors that impact their ability to be successful members of the community.

Moving Forward began in 2021 with a mission to reduce repeat offenses and provide individuals with access to community service, explained Kim Eaton, Ph.D., co-chair, Franklin Together Reentry Coalition. It provides a nonjudgmental environment that models positive behaviors.

Moving Forward facilitators share their own stories of transitioning back into the community and incorporate mindfulness exercises into the sessions, so participants learn relaxation skills as they deal with traumas, setbacks, and practice forgiveness.

To aid the participants in achieving mindfulness during their sessions, they needed tools. WellSpan's Summit Endowment, through the Healthy People 2030 ACI (Accelerating Community Impact) grant, funded supplies, including CD players, nature CDs, essential oils, diffusers, journals, and expandable breathing balls used during the exercises. 

"Thanks to this grant, seven locations and 13 facilitators were provided with the supplies for these mindfulness sessions," Eaton said. "Even though these groups were held during COVID-19, more than 120 individuals participated over a one-year period."

While the recidivism rate at the Franklin County jail is about 50%, the recidivism rate for the group participants was less than 5% during this time, she added. 

"This outcome speaks volumes to the effectiveness of this group in changing behaviors," Eaton said.

Community grants provide opportunities that change lives

This one-time endowment grant meets a resource need for community-based organizations, explained Ann Spottswood, WellSpan director of Community Services. To date, the endowment has awarded 264 grants to local organizations for residents in Franklin County.

WellSpan partners with community organizations, like those through the Summit Endowment, to expand its mission, build healthier communities, and promote lifelong health and wellness for all.

In the fiscal year 2022, WellSpan has provided nearly $313 million in overall community benefit. Read more in the Community Benefit Report here.