My experience helped bridge some of the perceived gaps between clinical and macro social work practice. The personal stories GRI clients shared with me, in combination with the systemic issues addressed with community partners and coalitions, deepened my understanding of the numerous and complex ways mass criminalization and mass incarceration impact individuals and communities.
-Erica Zaveloff, GRI Intern (and Student Coordinator) 2012-2013
The GRI created so many opportunities for its interns to get a comprehensive view of the criminal justice system. Through our work in the jails, working on a personal level with our community partners, and attending various symposium events and lectures throughout the city, my passion for this issue only increased. Above all, I will always remember and appreciate the incredible support the other interns and our supervisors were able to provide for each other.
-Caitlin Chin, GRI Intern 2013-2014
Interning with the GRI provides insight into how the criminal justice system actually works. It is a challenging, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding experience. Programs like the GRI are necessary to get more social workers involved in the criminal justice field.
-Devon Kuser, GRI Intern 2013-2014
My experience with GRI was nothing less than transformative. I learned more this past year about social work, clinical practice, macro issues, professionalism, and myself than I have learned in my life. This work was powerful, challenging, inspiring, and most of all, fueled my passion and armed me with the tools to spend my life fighting the system of Mass Incarceration.
-Emily Resnick, GRI Intern 2013-2014
I am so grateful to have been a part of the GRI. I have been passionate about direct practice with this population for some time and the GRI gave me the opportunity to work with amazing people, but it also alerted me to the deeply entrenched systematic challenges that perpetuate mass incarceration. Some of the smartest and most ambitious people I have ever met have a history of incarceration, and I have learned that often it is not a lack of motivation that keeps people trapped in a cycle of incarceration, rather it is barriers imposed by a system of injustice that makes it so challenging for formerly incarcerated individuals to move beyond the system.
-Fae Stone, GRI Intern 2013-2014
When I think about GRI and my experience, I think of building a bridge with individuals who desire to journey into a new lifestyle. The GRI gave me the opportunity to help ex-offenders who have made the conscious decision to choose a path, different from what they know, and equip them with the tools and resources that they would not have otherwise, so that they can re-enter society prepared to conquer the challenges that lie ahead.
-Lateefah Stembridge, GRI Intern 2012-2013
The GRI is where I learned to truly understand change; when a person or a system is ready for it, there is the potential for change. It is also where I learned that change is not actually the most important thing; instead, the focus must be on the ability to humanize, empathize with, and connect to each part of the system—from the guards to the guarded and the powers beyond the jail’s walls.
-Robin John Stewart, GRI Intern 2012-2013
The GRI allowed me to really see what it is like to practice social work inside jail, and experience first-hand with my clients the struggles and barriers they face coming home. The GRI has stressed to me the importance of the work that we do as social workers, and renewed my commitment to continue to do it.
-Megan Ammon, GRI Intern 2011-2012
I graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice and I naively thought I was prepared to encounter the difficulties associated with the prison system and with the incarcerated population. However, nothing I had read in my college textbooks could have properly equipped me for the overwhelming injustices, inadequacy of therapeutic opportunities, and bureaucracy within the prison. The GRI was an incredible field placement opportunity.
-Jacqui Kates, GRI Intern 2011-2012
The GRI gave me the opportunity to help those individuals who often are ignored or forgotten by the citizens of the city. We hear about the crime in Philadelphia, the criminal sentences and the undesirable neighborhoods, but we rarely get to see the positive stories of those who served their time and are seeking rehabilitation and reunification.
-Stan Kuklick, GRI Intern 2011-2012