DeLissio listens to inmates as she tours SCI Chester

CHESTER, July 12 -- State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., accepted an invitation from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to visit the State Correctional Institution in Chester Thursday to meet with inmates who shared their stories of rehabilitation.

According to the Department of Corrections, these inmates from southeast Pennsylvania personally requested the meeting with legislators. They wanted an opportunity for legislators to place a name and face behind their stories as they work to rehabilitate themselves and prepare for possible reentry to society.

“These men shared their experiences and how, in some cases, incarceration saved their lives and provided them a path to education and to learn skills and positive ways of thinking,” DeLissio said. “The goal was to provide an opportunity to show the positive changes made as they prepare and ultimately rejoin society.” 

After meeting with the inmates, officials at SCI Chester offered a short tour to show firsthand the work being done to rehabilitate the men.

DeLissio commented that this meeting with the inmates was enlightening as it pertained to their acknowledgement of the harm and pain caused to victims and victims’ families.

“It also emphasized how many of us change and evolve as we age,” DeLissio said. “Who we are at 19 or 20 is not who we are at 50 or 60 or 70. My plan is to continue to understand our current system in Pennsylvania, particularly the Life Without Parole policy and the genesis, implications and impact of that policy on society and our inmates.

“SCI Chester is about to embark on a pilot project modeled after the country of Norway, and the outcome of that pilot can provide valuable information to inform future policy in our commonwealth. In July 2018, Secretary of the Department of Corrections John Wetzel, presented information at a town hall, and it may be of interest to invite him back to continue the conversation.”