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2023 Allegheny County Jail Holiday Packages

The holidays can be a difficult time for those who are incarcerated, but Pittsburgh’s Foundation of HOPE looks to bring joy each December to those at the Allegheny County Jail.

For Christmas 2023, the Foundation of HOPE, which operates the chaplaincy and pre-release programs at the jail, handed out holiday packages to nearly 1,400 incarcerated individuals at the facility.

Planning for the Christmas gifts begins in October with staff and volunteers putting the packages together in early December. We are extremely fortunate to have the Jail Chaplaincy Program here and to have their service in distributing holiday gifts for more than a decade.

Watch the Latest HOPE Video

The goals of the program are accomplished through counseling, religious services, discipleship, practical resources and referrals, life skills education within and outside the jail, choice awareness training, and one-on-one mentoring. HOPE serves incarcerated individuals regardless of their race, age, ethnic background, or faith tradition.

More Videos

VOICES: The Prison System / Local Citizens Share First-Hand Experiences with Incarceration

Anne Casper, at WQED, reached out to Foundation of HOPE for assistance in developing a video on the “prison system” for their VOICES series. This incredibly powerful and inspiring video features Rodger Jay (HOPE Aftercare Peer Support Specialist), Elexa Becton (former HOPE Aftercare participant & current Aftercare volunteer), and Taili Thompson (HOPE Board Member).

Freedom Rising

The Freedom Rising Grant is being used as a catalyst for change in how youth are interfacing with the juvenile justice system in the city of Pittsburgh, how schools are handling behavior changes, and an effort in breaking the cycle of generational incarceration. The Diversion program addresses Justice and Reconciliation in addition to focusing on one of Freedom Rising’s Core Values: Focusing specifically on ministry to and for African American males without diminishing the well-being of others-particularly other oppressed peoples.

Watch Our Previous HOPE Video


KD Sunday Spotlight: Foundation of Hope helping individuals transform their lives after incarceration

By Briana Smith, September 18, 2022 / CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Many people are moving from prison to prosperity with guidance from the “Foundation of Hope.” The non-profit organization helps incarcerated individuals re-enter society and succeed during their second chance at life.

“Today, I can be part of the healing of the community,” Rodger Jay said. “The same communities that I was part of the destruction of, now I get to be part of the healing. I am grateful for that.”

Rodger Jay talking on-camera
School of Social Work Interns bring hope and help to the Allegheny County Jail through the Foundation of HOPE field placement

In the case of the Foundation of HOPE field placement at the Allegheny County Jail, School of Social Work students fearlessly seized the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of traumatized people.
University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work – September 2021

Foundation of HOPE Helps Inmates Prepare for Life Outside the Correctional System

We spoke with the executive director, Jody Raeford, about the ways the organization helps inmates and former inmates overcome obstacles when returning to life outside the correctional system.
By Hilary Daninhirsch
North Hills Monthly Magazine – 2021

Many arrests are rooted in behavioral health issues. Can this program be an alternative for the Pittsburgh region?

At the Foundation of HOPE, Jody Raeford is looking to ensure community members aren’t arrested for behaviors rooted in unmet behavioral health needs.
by Emma Folts and Rich Lord
Public Source – August 24, 2020

Hand-offs, not handcuffs: National program for nonviolent criminals may soon be coming to Pittsburgh

The Foundation of HOPE continues to take the LEAD when it comes to Diversion initiatives: Check out why we believe healthy collaborations lead to healthy communities.
By Rich Lord
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – January 25, 2020

A Foundation of Hope: Pilot Program Boasts Success in Aiding At-risk Juveniles on North Side

When 17-year-old Alayah Thompson first stepped into the juvenile probation office after getting in trouble for fighting downtown, she saw a scary-looking probation supervisor and worried she might be going to jail. But instead, the probation supervisor told her she’d been flagged to participate in a H.O.P.E. diversion pilot program.
By Shelly Bradbury
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – July 20, 2019

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019

Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs?
By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner
Prison Policy Initiative – March 19, 2019

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