The Washington University Prison Education Project (PEP) is currently seeking an MSW practicum student for Fall 2020. Please see below for the complete job description. To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to Abaki Beck (email@example.com).
Practicum Position: Prison Education Project, Alumni Program
Reentry Case Management – Fall 2020
Washington University’s Prison Education Project (PEP) provides credit-bearing liberal arts courses to 30-40 students currently incarcerated at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC), a medium-security men’s prison in Pacific, Missouri. PEP also offers co-curricular programming—lectures, book groups, study hall hours with tutoring, skills workshops, a student council, etc.—to enrolled students. PEP students first work toward an Associate’s degree (AA) and then toward a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University.
PEP is currently building its reentry (“alumni”) program to include intensive individual case management (beginning 12 months pre-release and continuing until 12 months post-release)—pending full Department of Corrections (DOC) approval—to support PEP students as they transition from MECC back to their communities, whether St. Louis or elsewhere. This case manager will work intensively with 4-5 students on an individual basis to develop transition plans that include safe and affordable housing, access to transportation, health care services, and employment with a special focus on students’ plans for continued education and on employment that builds upon their educational achievements. To this end, the PEP case manager will work collaboratively with students’ internal MECC case managers and parole officers to ensure consistent advice and planning for each student.
The practicum student will also take a leadership role in facilitating the ongoing projects of the Alumni Program, currently a group comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, university staff, PEP alumni, faculty, and community members tasked with building support networks, support systems, and tools to reentering PEP alumni.
Case Management (80%)
- Work in conjunction with internal MECC case managers to assist PEP students transition to the workforce, further their college education, and/or pursue technical training. PEP case managers will work with internal case managers to help PEP students identify and make application to programs (e.g., Launch Code, Mission St. Louis) that build on their college experiences and that are compatible with their home plans.
- Work in conjunction with internal MECC case managers to facilitate connections to community resources (e.g., rental assistance, transitional housing, substance abuse treatment, health care, transportation, etc.) that are compatible with ongoing educational plans and/or planned employment.
- Work individually with PEP students and their academic advisors to review their employment materials, including resumes and cover letters, and to review interview strategies and skills that effectively incorporate students’ educational training and achievements.
- Meet in person or, when necessary, virtually (after release) on a regular basis—more often in the months before release—to develop plans with PEP students as they transition to new educational institutions and/or paid employment. These plans may include collaborating with students to fill out and submit college applications, scholarship and financial aid applications, employment materials, etc.
- Keep confidential and detailed case notes, updated weekly on Box, for each student on caseload.
- Keep confidential notes on students not yet formally in case management seeking advice or information about services or opportunities post-release. Delegate information and resource gathering as needed.
- Attend weekly case management alumni reentry team meetings.
- Develop relationships with current reentry partners (community organizations, area college and universities, government agencies, etc.) and contribute to evolving database of new reentry partners and services in the St. Louis community.
- Collaborate with the Alumni Coordinator(s) and the PEP Program Manager to develop and continually improve evaluations processes for Reentry Case Management.
- Implement approved evaluation measures to seek student feedback
Program Support (20%)
- Work with the Alumni Coordinator(s) to develop and support the activities of the Reentry Working Group, including developing meeting agendas, co-facilitating weekly meetings, and supervising subcommittees as needed.
- Collaborate, as needed, with the PEP Programming and Events Committee to develop and advertise reentry-focused workshops.
This is a new position that requires the practicum student to be a self-starter and to work independently with minimal on-site supervision and someone eager to build and refine case management tools and protocols as part of a growing alumni reentry team. This is not a clinical position.
Practicum students will be required to attend DOC-mandated volunteer/reentry partner trainings and to submit to drug testing, two-step TB testing, and a background check before beginning work at MECC. On site, practicum students will also be subject to current DOC policies that govern visitors to MECC, including behavioral guidelines and dress codes.
- Experience working within a prison or jail setting or working with justice-involved populations
- Case management or direct advocacy experience
- Excellent organizational practices and attention to detail
- Access to reliable transportation (prison is about 30 miles from campus)
- Concentration-level practicum student with at least 2 years professional experience with justice-involved or system-impacted populations OR direct/personal experience with the criminal legal system.