Berks County criminal justice program awarded top honor

The Berks County Connections/Pretrial Services program was awarded a top honor by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania during its recent Spring Conference in Harrisburg.

The local program was honored with the CCAP 21st Century Committee Criminal Justice Partners Award. A formal award presentation is planned for June 11 in State College.

Berks Connections/Pretrial Services (BCPS) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit agency founded in 1975 by a group of concerned members of the community as a means to provide caring support to incarcerated individuals and their families. It was originally known as the Prison Society of Berks County.

BCPS provides assistance and support for inmates at the Berks County Prison, residents at the Berks County Community Reentry Center and ex-offenders returning to communities in Berks County. BCPS/Berks Connections Family Connections programs include the Mother’s Voice Program that connects incarcerated parents to their children at home, Holiday Gift Drives for families with loved ones in jail, and the FUNdamentals program that provides self-esteem building educational and fun activities for at-risk youth.

More BCPS information is available on the agency Web site, www.berksconnections.org.

Along with the Partner Award given to Berks Connections, CCAP also honored several Pennsylvania county jails and one juvenile detention center along with their leaders in cases where best practices and exemplary programming have been implemented.

Each entrant was required to describe how its county project maintains best practices for keeping populations down, assuring better recidivism rates, improving collaboration with the community and assisting inmates with their re-entry to society. Juvenile detention shelters/centers awards are designed to showcase the efforts of the men and women working each day to change the life of a child.

CCAP, the voice of county government, is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes the county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. For more information on the county awards, visit the CCAP website at www.pacounties.org.