Juanita Edrington-Grant was released from the State Correctional Institution in April 1992. After serving 7 years and 9 months for numerous criminal offenses, and facing 8 1/2 years state parole, Juanita knew it was time to make some significant changes in her life. While incarcerated from 1986 to 1992, Juanita secured a college education through Penn State University. She completed the Paralegal program and secured 51 credits towards an associate degree.
In November 1992, she gave her life to God and immediately entered into prison ministry with her spiritual mother (Mother Thelma O.Wright) under Mother Wright's prison ministry (The Society of Volunteer Ministries). It was Mother Wright's passion and desire that inspired Juanita to begin aftercare services, as Mother Wright said she was too old to run behind the exoffenders upon their release. Mother Wright, therefore, birthed aftercare ministries into Juanita and Juanita delivered the ministry into a fully operating business, that later developed into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
CRAM's primary focus is "crime prevention", reducing recidivism and promoting a safer community. Therefore, in 2008 CRAM developed the Crime Prevention Project (CPP) through a grant from the United Way of the Capital Region.
All of our services are provided under the Crime Prevention Project. This initiative is a tri-fold project:
• build a strong and safer community;
• empower ex-offenders to be self-sufficient; and
• lessen the burden on the community.
CPP provides an integrated approach through pre-release & re-entry programs and services, and is a positive therapeutic alliance, which we believe is critical in assisting the ex-offender's transition from confinement.
Phase I provides pre-release services to individuals in facilities of confinement, who are within 3-6 months of being either paroled to the community or transferred to a half-way back facility located in the community.
Phase II provides re-entry services to individuals in the community or in a community-based/correctional half-way back facility.
Phase III provides follow-up and/or ongoing support services to individuals upon release from half-way back facilities to the community, and through final release on probation/parole supervision. This service provides tracking and develops outcomes.
CRAM began its first program service in 2002 (Mentoring and Substance Abuse Support) upon its initial recognition as a 501(c)3 faith-based human and social service agency. CRAM expanded and grew in program services over the past 13 years.
Re-Entry Mobile Laptop Services
Employment Assistance Project
Computer Literacy Class
Financial Literacy Class
Housing Financial Assistance
Family Reunification Project
Distribution (Donation) Center
Ex-offender Workforce Development
Community Service Project
HOW CRAM, Inc. BEGAN
2004: Lingo Memorial Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of Bishop Benjamin J. Ravenel, donated in-kind space to CRAM to operate its program services and thereby CRAM's headquarters has been located at 509 Division Street, Harrisburg, PA
2006: CRAM began receiving weekly household donations from a local agency well as from the United Way of the Capital Region. (i.e. sheets, blankets, pillows, comforters,pots, pans, utensils, etc.). CRAM in turn provided these items to released prisoners and their families, in an effort to assist them with setting up their living quarters in the community. In addition, these household items are also distributed to other nonprofit organizations that have clients with a need. CRAM's Distribution Project was developed. The Foundation For Enhancing Communities (TFEC) awarded a grant to purchase new computer equipment and enhance the computer literacy class services.
2007: TFEC awarded a grant to continue computer literacy services and to create the Employment Assistance class which provided services to the clients to perform job search and to secure employment.
2008: CRAM initiated services on site at the Harrisburg Community Correction Center, under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. These services included orientation sessions for newly arrived prisoners, CRAM's on site computer literacy class, resume' preparation and community resources for which the residents can perform mandated hours of community service. These services developed the following CRAM services: Ex-offender Community Service Project, Computer Literacy Class, and Mentoring one-on-one services.
Equipment for the classes were initially provided from CRAM’s partnering non-profit, Capital City Computer Project, under the leadership of the former Governor George M. Leader. As an incentive, free desktop computers are awarded to the clients after completion of the class. Governor Leader's vision of providing free desktop computer equipment to nonprofits to distribute to clients completing the classes, lives on through the Computer Ministry of Mechanicsburg, PA.
CRAM realized that substance abuse is an ongoing issue for approximately 80-85% of its target population. Continued referrals from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole…birthed the SARS Project (Substance Abuse Recovery Services). CRAM has always provided one-on-one mentoring services to its clients covering this area. A request from the Director of the Harrisburg Community Correction Center (HCCC) birthed the SARS Project on site, at the HCCC. CRAM volunteers provide weekly services under SARS at this site. In addition to the SARS Project provided onsite at HCCC, HCCC permitted CRAM to set up a computer lab (5 computers) which CRAM volunteers provide computer literacy and financial literacy classes to the ex-offenders housed at the HCCC.
2009: CRAM developed the Ex-offender Workforce Development program under a grant from The Foundation For Enhancing Communities (TFEC) to fund services for CRAM’s need to focus on educating and recruiting employers who will consider clients as candidates for employment opportunities. Education and recruitment is provided.
2010: CRAM received its first federal funds through a capacity building grant from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. The grant was to provide HIV/AIDS Prevention services to people of color. CRAM was the only agency selected for this award in the State of Pennsylvania. The Program, It's About Change was the partnering agency that educated CRAM in implementing HIV/AIDS services under this grant.
CRAM received a grant from TFEC for its Computer Technology Skills & Education Project under CRAM's Family Reunification Project. CRAM has identified the need to serve the entire need of the ex-offender, who is returning back to the community and returning back to his/her family.
2011: CRAM received several grant to implement many of its program services:
• SAMHSA - second year of funding for the HIV/AIDS and reentry services
• PA Dept. of Health for HIV/AIDS testing and counseling
• United Way of the Capital Region for the Family Reunification Program
• TFEC for a new Pre-GED one-on-one Tutoring Project
• Wal-mart Foundation for Family Reunification services
2012: CRAM celebrated its 10 years of providing services to ex offenders and their families. TFEC awarded a grant for CRAM's implementation of an Outcome Database to track its client's recidivism. A grant was received from the Rotary Club of Harrisburg's Youth Committee Development Team to be used for basic needs of families in the community.
2013: CRAM's celebrated at its October Annual Event by “Honoring an Icon” the Former Governor George M. Leader, who passed away in May 2013. CRAM also received the following funding:
• The Foundation for Enhancing Communities to implement an Internship Project
• The Foundation for Enhancing Communities provided funding to support CRAM’s Family Reunification Project.
• The City of Harrisburg through the CDBG (Community Block Development Grant) for Basic Needs of the families of exoffenders
• Kline Foundation for continuing the Pre-GED program
• The Leader Family Foundation to continue implementing the L.E.A.D.E.R. Project
• Stabler Foundation to implement CRAM’s Mobile Reentry Laptop Program
2014: CRAM received a grant from The Foundation for Enhancing Communities for the Franklin County Leader Project to support the exoffender reentry services in Franklin County, through the Franklin County Foundation funding.
The Leader Family implement a 5-year trust fund that was left by the Former Governor Leader as a legacy to the LEADER Project services and the Highmark Foundation awarded a grant for the LEADER Project programs in the 5 counties.
The City of Harrisburg through the CDBG (Community Block Development Grant) awarded funding for CRAM & TLC Work-based Training Program, Inc.
The Foundation for Enhancing Communities awarded CRAM a grant for Franklin County exoffenders' basic need.
The Kline Foundation awarded a grant for CRAM's client direct services.
The LEADER Project funding continues for another year.