Mansfield CJA Students and Professor Present Project at State Conference

MANSFIELD, PA— Mansfield University Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) majors Thomas Probst, Elizabeth Deuel and Assistant Professor Jeremy Olson presented a student-developed prison re-entry project, (L-R) Elizabeth Deuel, Assistant Professor Jeremy Olson, Thomas Probst “Live Life Like a Square,” at the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Justice Educators (PACJE) Conference at Lock Haven University on April 7.  The theme of this year’s conference was Justice Reinvestment.

Probst, a junior, formed the initial ideas of “Live Life Like a Square” during his professional work with adult offenders in a prison pre-release center.  When he enrolled in the Criminal Justice policy course during spring 2017, Probst was able to use a two-part class exercise to refine his ideas and to write them down on paper. Seeing real-world potential in the written draft of the project, Probst and Olson began working to fully develop Probst’s ideas into an intervention for offenders.

Probst and Olson asked Deuel, a senior, to join the project when she enrolled in both the policy course and a course on correctional group management in spring 2018.  Her involvement in the project quickly led Deuel to a part-time professional position working at the same pre-release center where Probst first formed the ideas of “Live Life Like a Square.”

The presentation at the PACJE conference was the formal unveiling of the team’s efforts with “Live Life Like a Square.”  Pennsylvania-based faculty, researchers, practitioners and students with an interest in justice reinvestment attended the conference.  Several conference attendees approached the MU presenters to congratulate them on taking a class project off-campus and into the prisons.

The project is next slated for a pilot run with adult male offenders within a county pre-release center in summer 2018.  Once the pilot is complete, the team will focus their efforts on establishing the research protocol for the project, with hopes of its eventual classification as an evidence-based offender intervention program.

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