Christ Church Cathedral, 45 Church Street, Hartford, CT06103
"Re-Entry and Reunion: Adjusting to Coming Home" was the eighth annual Prison Forum presented by Faith Behind Bars and Beyond.
Faith Behind Bars and Beyond Co-ChairYvetteGarner welcomed us to the 2015 Prison Forum.
BishopLauraAhrens offered the opening prayer.
Formerly-incarcerated women, men, and family members participated in a panel discussion.
The panel discussion was followed by questions from the people attending the Forum and answers from the panelists.
Michaela Godding, one of the panelists (and the daughter of another panelist), wrote "The guards in my mother's prison",
a poem that she has kindly given Faith Behind Bars and Beyond permission to publish.
Scott Semple, Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Correction, had graciously agreed to be our keynote speaker.
Commissioner Scott Semple has more than 26 years of correctional experience.
Scott Semple joined the
Connecticut Department of Correction
in 1988, as a correction officer at Cheshire Correctional Institution.
In 1990, he became a member of the Correctional Emergency Response Team. From there Scott Semple rose to Training Officer at two CT Correctional Institutions (CI's),
then joined the Office of Public Information where he was an agency spokesperson.
To broaden his facility-level correctional experience, in 2003 he was assigned as the Major of Programs and Treatment at the Bridgeport Correctional Center;
in 2009, Scott Semple was appointed as the Warden of Garner CI.
Due to his achievements, in 2013 Commissioner Dzurenda appointed Scott Semple as the Deputy Commissioner of Operations and Rehabilitative Services.
When Commissioner Dzurenda retired in 2014, Scott Semple was chosen as the Interim Commissioner of the DOC,
and in 2015, the Senate approved his appointment as Commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Correction.
For more information about Commissioner Scott Semple, you can visit the Connecticut Department of Correction website at WWW.CT.Gov/DOC.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to two people in 2015.
Bishop Laura Ahrens presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Brother Winston Taylor and Sandi Eddy.
Commitment Cards, Evaluation Forms, and invitations to the next Faith Behind Bars and Beyond meeting were distributed.
Three members of Women On Our Own, part of the Judy Dworin Performance Project, performed during the afternoon.
After the songs and spoken-word pieces, there was an opportunity for questions and answers.
Other activities at the 8th annual prison forum:
Lots of fellowship as we chatted with old friends and made new ones!
Lunch (included in registration fee) was provided by The Kitchen at Billings Forge.
Displays were available all day from prison-related organizations such as the Order of Malta Prison Volunteers of Connecticut, Kairos Prison Ministry, and the Community Prison Awareness & Prevention Gathering.
Posters, brochures, books, and other information provided by several organizations gave details about various services available.