United Circle 4 H.O.P.E. Think Tank

United States Penitentiary at Hazelton / West Virginia University

Coordinator: Jeri Kirby

Since 2012, the Hazelton Think Tank has developed many programs, some fully functional, others still in progress. The Think Tank sponsors resource centers in every housing unit, which are available to the population at all times. These centers are where programming (also developed by the Think Tank) takes place, allowing the men to be in a classroom setting, while offering re-entry and class resources. The Think Tank created various materials, including state-by-state resource guides with county-based post-release resources. The group also created four issues of a newsletter for the entire Hazelton USP population. The newsletters deliver changing release laws, opportunities available within the facility, and an education section, highlighting available classes and educational accomplishments. Finally, the Hazelton Think Tank developed the first residential re-entry-based program in the Bureau of Prisons, called Bounce Back. The program consists of 20 classes created by the Think Tank members, addressing re-entry needs from cognitive training to job readiness.

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“Dreams come true.
There is no hope without witnessing salvation.
To struggle is to live, making victory much more sweeter.
I will always hope, I will always believe, I will never surrender.
I am a dream.”

(Inside Participant and Think Tank Member)