Juliaty Hermanto '12
Reconnecting Inmates with Their Communities
This summer, Juliaty Hermanto ’12 is spending her summer working with Span, Inc., an organization in Boston, Mass., that works with those in or recently released from prison to help them return to their communities and stay out of prison. The organization offers a wide range of services from case management to career development and provides important health services, such as substance abuse counselling, special assistance for HIV-positive clients and health education.
Hermanto is working at Span as part of a Center for Peace and Global Citizenship-funded Senior Bridge internship, which is a way for Haverford students to further their thesis work the summer after they graduate. She is working the front desk at Span and interacting with clients on a daily basis. This includes helping them with resumes and online job applications.
Hermanto has always been interested in prisons, but says her first experience with them at Haverford was during a restorative justice course taught by Visiting Instructor of Independent College Programs Barbara Toews. The class was taught inside a women’s prison in Philadelphia, and after getting to interact with inmates, Hermanto and a number of other students began working on setting up more programs between the College and the Philadelphia Department of Corrections.
One such collaboration was Life After Life: Reflections of Justice, a panel discussion held last February that featured Tyrone Werts, a former inmate, and was organized by Hermanto and Haverford House fellow Emily Bock ’11. Hermanto has also volunteered extensively at SCI-Graterford, the maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania where Werts was incarcerated. At Graterford she primarily worked with the Restorative Justice Steering Committee, for which she organized a grant-writing workshop at the prison.
After spending much of her senior year researching prison-related programs for her thesis, “Doing Time or Wasting Time?: An Analysis of the Accessibility of Prison Programs in State and Federal Correctional Facilities,” Hermanto wanted a closer experience with the people she was studying. Span, she says, offered “a way through which I could see what happens on ‘the other side of the wall’ - a way through which I could better understand the immense difficulties faced by individuals being released from prison.”
Hermanto’s time at Span has also given her a chance to view her work at Haverford in a new light by augmenting her theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience. “I spent a lot of time at Haverford intellectualizing what it means to provide services or what it means to encourage a set path of success,” she says. Now, she says, her intellectual concerns have become secondary to the real-life issues of clients she works with.
Read more about the Life After Life event here: http://www.haverford.edu/news/stories/57921/51
-Jack Hasler ’15