In 2000, under the leadership of Judge Richard J. Walsh, Franklin County Convened its own Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) to address the immediate and future needs of the Franklin County criminal justice system. In 2012, key criminal justice stakeholders met to update a sequential intercept mapping model to detail the intersection of local human services with the criminal justice system. In the CJAB Strategic Plan for 2012-2015, Franklin County identified the enhancement and expansion of reentry initiatives.
Following an impactful 2013 PCCD CJAB Conference which focused on re-entry efforts throughout the state, the Criminal Justice Advisory Board laid the groundwork for a re-entry coalition to be formed in Franklin County. The event featured a statewide panel of re-entry practitioners and a documentary film made by a returning citizen. This documentary, titled "The Pull of Gravity," featured three returning citizens including the filmmaker at various stages of their reintegration into their communities following incarceration. This successful event brought the complexity of re-entry issues to the forefront of the attendees’ minds.
The 85 attendees at Franklin County’s Re-Entry Forum in March 2014 were an indication of broad-based interest in this issue. There was representation from local and county government, the courts, faith community, reentering citizens, and other program providers. However, despite the community interest and abundance of service provider agencies in the Chambersburg area, re-entry appears to be a fragmented process. We recognized the need to collaborate and share resources among programs, and identify the gaps in the system where unmet needs exist.
In May of 2015, PCCD awarded Franklin County a "Re-Entry Strategic Planning Grant" to establish a comprehensive re-entry plan for Franklin County that is embraced by both government and community stakeholders. In July 2015, a group of approximately 50 stakeholders began meeting monthly and that group became the Franklin County Re-Entry Coalition in November of 2015.