Financial reality Fair
Recidivism in the US

Pennsylvania Seeks to Reduce Inmate Recidivism through Financial Education

On October 14, five simultaneous Financial Reality Fairs will take place in five cities in Pennsylvania; one of the first programs in the US, the fair is aimed to reduce inmate recidivism through financial education.

Financial reality FairThe Financial Reality Fair was announced on October 5 at the headquarters of the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU). It has become a reality thanks to the pioneering collaboration between public and private partners:

  1. Department of Corrections
  2. Department of Banking and Securities.
  3. Board of Probation and Parole
  4. PA Credit Union Foundation
  5. PA Housing Finance Agency

The fair will simultaneously take place on Saturday at:

  1. Erie
  2. Harrisburg
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Pittsburg
  5. Reading

Gov. Wolf: Knowledge on Money Management Can Help Reduce Inmate Recidivism

Governor elect Tom Wolf address the very large crowd at the Utz Arena in York, PA Tuesday night. Tuesday night. Election night with winning Democratic candidate Tom Wolf and his family wife, Frances, and daughters Sarah and Katie, at the Utz Arena at the York Fairgrounds in York PA, Tuesday November 4th, 2014. . 11/04/2014 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

In Pennsylvania, more than 20,000 people are released from state prisons per year. Upon their return to communities, they face several challenges such as lack of knowledge about and access to financial services–bank accounts, budgeting, credit reports, and insurance.

Governor Tom Wolf stressed the importance of helping re-entrants understand the basics of money management.

”To help them succeed in the community and less likely to return to prison, it is vital that they understand these basics of money management.  This program will guide reentrants through banking basics, establishing credit, avoiding predatory lending, and will make sure these individuals have the financial tools necessary to achieve a self-sustaining independence.”

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What to Expect from the Financial Reality Fair

The interactive financial literacy tool will provide re-entrants a hands-on experience to identify post-release work opportunities and starting pay expectations.

Participants are expected to:

  • Complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basic needs
  • Discuss emergency and unexpected expenses

During the fair, volunteers from community groups, credit unions, and state agencies will also provide financial counseling.

Soon, the Financial Reality Fair may become an annual event thanks to the efforts of the program organizers.

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Melanie Macinas
Melanie Macinas holds a BS degree in Computer Science. She found her passion for writing when she took a content writing position for a BPO company. In 2011, she started her freelancing career as a writer and since then has successfully completed several writing projects for US/UK clients. She now writes news stories for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.