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Pa. Funding Cut is Bad News for Philadelphia Program for Former Prisoners

By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania's budget woes are taking their toll on a number of fronts.  Now, a local program that aids fathers who had done prison time readjust to society is being phased out, because state funding has been cut off.

Over the last 3+ years that "Philly ReNew" has been offered by the Pennsylvania Prison Society, some 400 men have been helped in obtaining GEDs, jobs, and a positive outlook on life.

And 70 percent of them have stayed out of prison.

But this program comes to an end at the end of the month, now that its $600,000 annual state grant has been cut -- to zero.

"If we can get somebody else to fund it, we can start it up again," says Prison Society spokeswoman Mindy Bogue.   "Maybe not with the exact same name, but the same quality."

There are similar programs elsewhere in the city, but Bogue believes they don't have the success rate of Philly ReNew -- nor the savings to the Commonwealth.  She points out that it costs $33 per day for each person in the program, compared to $90 a day to incarcerate them.

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