A ‘Lifer’ Recycled After 42 Years in Prison

There is life after 42 years in prison. Jeffry Dean was sentenced as a juvenile 42 years ago when he was 17. Thanks to a Supreme Court decision to rethink life sentences for juvenile his is a life recycled.

Even as a ‘lifer’ he pushed himself to improve himself during in prison. He dedicated his time in prison to helping men re-enter society after being incarcerated. In that process, he became Facilitator for the PEOPLE ADVANCING REINTEGRATION course at Graterford Prison, “Wne teach them how to have goals.”

Then the miracle occurred and he found himself a free man. Reentry is hard enough even after just a few years. He had spent 2/3 of his life in a prison culture. The world has changed. Fortunately, he has a job with PAR Recycle Works whose byline is “Recycling electronics, Restoring lives.”

Chestnut Hill resident Laura Ford, with close ties to St. Vincent’s Parish in Germantown, has worked in prison ministry and helped develop and run reintegration programs for formerly incarcerated men and women for almost 20 years. She watched Jeffrey for 5 years. But she too was surprised when he asked her one day for a ride upon his release.”I will never forget those words!”

“PAR- Recycle Works believes that one of the best crime deterrents is a job. Participants in this program go from costing society thousands of dollars a year to contributing to society.”

According to a report entitled “The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers” conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Pew Center on the States, the Pennsylvania Department of Correction spends roughly $1.6 billion in prison expenditures annually.

The report stated that Pennsylvania incurs an “average annual cost of $42,339” for each inmate.

Ford, who is the PAR-Recycle treasurer, said it is very hard for ex-offenders to find steady, full-time employment. She said thousands of people return from prison to the community every day.

Watch the video for the moving story of a life recycled.

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