Reentry Program Sees Results in Lycoming County

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WILLIAMSPORT -- Almost 35 percent of the people who are placed into the GEO Lycoming County Reentry Center complete the treatment program within two years. It may not seem like a big number, but it's a huge accomplishment to the group of graduates Newswatch 16 spoke with.

After being sentenced to jail twice, overcoming a drug addiction, and starting a family, Brittany Hanner of Williamsport has worked too hard to let her nerves get to her now.

"Y'all have been a big help in my life and all have helped open my eyes and realize I can do a lot more in my life than go out and get in trouble,” said Hanner.

She and 31 others received a certificate for completing GEO Lycoming County Reentry program. It's the fourth transition ceremony for the treatment facility since the place opened in 2014.

"We went through a lot and I couldn't be prouder of her. It's a good day,” said Patti Hanner.

Out of about 450 people, about 160 have graduated from the program that's located on Pine Street in the city. The treatment facility offers services to help non-violent offenders get back into society. It's an alternative to time behind bars.

"At first I was like, 'Oh my God, why do I have to be in this program?' And then I just kept doing what I had to do,” said Hanner.

"Not only have they successfully completed the program, but they were able to parlay that success into gaining employment," said Judge Nancy Butts.

"I worked for it. I took the steps that I needed to take worked with the staff at reentry," said Samantha Stewart.

It's been about a year since Samantha Stewart graduated from the program. Now she is the manager at her job in Williamsport. She doesn't shy away from hiring others who have completed the reentry program.

"I was in their shoes and I know it's hard to find a job, so I bring them in and we work with them," said Stewart.

Lycoming County pays around $800,000 a year toward the program. Officials say that's less than what it would cost to send those offenders to jail.