Once Called Ex-Cons, Philadelphia ‘Returning Citizens’ Begin Six Weeks of Reintegration

CBS Philly

By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are in the process of changing the term “ex-offender” to “returning citizen” in the city’s official documents and programs.  The aim is to help eliminate the stigma associated with past convictions.

But that’s just one part of the ex-offender makeover.  The Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services (known as “RISE”) today welcomed a new class of formerly incarcerated men and women for its intense, six-week reintegration program.

More than 70 people sat in a room that was standing-room-only.  In the first hour, reintegration specialists set the tone.

“When you are ready to move things in a positive direction, you come down here and they help you do the work.  But it takes committment,” one speaker told the group.

Wallace Custis, RISE’s manager of training, was released from prison 13 years ago.  He now has a master’s degree and has his eyes on getting…

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