Welcome to the Have A Heart Group of Lancaster PA


Our Purpose
Our purpose is to improve Lancaster County Prison and our county judicial system so that they meet optimal rather than minimal levels of correctional management.

 News on the "Ban the Box" Movement
Lancaster Newspapers recently offered editorial comment about the negative impact of "the Box" (on job applications that asks about criminal comvictions) and progress at state and local levels toward "banning the box." Click http://lancasteronline.com/photovideo/in-our-words---banning-the-box-penn-state/html_6c92a3e6-373d-11e7-b20f-ebc5dd9ff927.html  to see and hear grat commentary.

White Paper 2016
The Board of Directors presented their second White Paper to the Lancaster County Prison Board on Thursday, August 18, 2016. Titled, "Enhancing the Culture and Operation of Lancaster County Prison and Criminal Justice System," the White Paper made multiple recommendations arranged under 10 goals:
    1. Create a 10 year Plan for Replacing Lancaster Co. Prison
    2. Further Reduce the Average LCP Population
    3. Improve the Prison Culture
    4. Improve the Governance of the LCP Board
    5. Improve Services for Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System
    6. Improve Support for COs from LCP Leaders, the Prison Board, and our Community
    7. Expand Services for Women at LCP
    8. Improve the Understanding of and Advocacy for LCP by County Citizens
    9. Evaluate LCP Annually Based on Best Practices
    10. Improve Services for Returning Citizens.

    Get the full text of the White Paper by clicking on White Papers and Other Resources above left. 
    In addition, Have a Heart prepared a "2016 Assessment of Progress Made on 2011 White Paper Recommendations."  That Assessment is found in the same section above.

From Bureau of Justice Statistics - 2/22/18




          WASHINGTON — The percentage of U.S. residents who were in jail dropped from midyear (the last weekday in June) 2012 to midyear 2016, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today. Jails include confinement facilities operated under the authority of a sheriff, police chief or city or county administrator.


          The jail incarceration rate fell from 237 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents at midyear 2012 to 229 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents at midyear 2016, a decline of 3.4 percent. The incarceration rate fell 11.2 percent from midyear 2008, when there were 258 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, to midyear 2016.


          County and city jails held 740,700 inmates at midyear 2016. This was below the peak of 785,500 inmates in 2008, the year with the most jail inmates since 1982, when BJS began the Annual Survey of Jails data collection.


          In 2016, jails reported 10.6 million admissions, continuing a steady decline since 2008, when there were 13.6 million admissions to local jails. On average, those admitted to jail in 2016 stayed 25 days. Admissions include all persons booked into a jail on a formal charge, repeat offenders booked on new charges, and persons sentenced to weekend programs and entering the facility for the first time.

Have A Heart for Persons in the Criminal Justice System meetings
The Have A Heart Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm, at First United Methodist Church, Duke and Walnut Streets, Lancaster PA. Enter from the Parking Lot entry.

Information Paper on a For-
 Profit Company Submitting a Profit Company Submitting a Proposal for a Re-Entry Program

Have a Heart President, Jean Bickmire, has prepared a background paper on GEO Group, one of the agencies submitting a proposal for Re-Entry programs to the Lancaster County Prison Board. Click here to read the background paper.

Lancaster County Prison Board meetings
The Lancaster County Prison Board meets the third Thursday of each month, at 9 a.m. in Room 701 on the seventh floor of the County building at 150 North Queen Street in Lancaster. There is no meeting in July.
The March, June, September and December meetings are held at the Lancaster County Prison, 625 East King Street, Lancaster. 

Important Links

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Lancaster Co. Prison Board:

PA Prison Society: