THE PROGRAM - History
THE PROGRAM for Offenders, Inc. (THE PROGRAM) is a nonprofit organization that specializes in community corrections and offers residential alternatives to incarceration, drug and alcohol treatment, and a wide range of support services to male and female offenders and their families in Allegheny County. TPFO’s mission is to provide supportive services for offenders to give them a second chance at a crime and drug-free life, and to give their children a first chance. THE PROGRAM provides services designed to facilitate the reintegration of offenders into society; to reduce recidivism and promote public safety; to increase community awareness about the plight of offenders; to strengthen families; and to deter intergenerational crime.
Originally named THE PROGRAM for Female Offenders, Inc., the organization was formed in 1974 to provide advocacy during incarceration and job placement upon release for women. THE PROGRAM pioneered the development of gender-responsive alternatives to incarceration in Allegheny County, and has provided exemplary residential and non-residential services to non-violent male and female offenders for more than 35 years. Since it was incorporated in 1976, the agency has grown from a two-person storefront operation into an internationally recognized model program that has provided technical assistance to alternative housing agencies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The senior management team has a combined total of more than 125 years of experience with the development and implementation of corrections programming.
THE PROGRAM pioneered the development of community corrections in Allegheny County and provides exemplary residential services. In 1984, the agency responded to jail overcrowding by developing a residential work release facility, The Program Center (TPC) for 42 female offenders and their pre-school age children. In 1993, at the request of the county, THE PROGRAM opened the Allegheny County Treatment Alternative (ACTA) a co-ed, 50- bed facility that combines work release with Pennsylvania-licensed intensive inpatient substance abuse treatment. In May 2006, ACTA became an all-male facility. THE PROGRAM contracts with the Allegheny County Jail to provide residential alternatives to incarceration, is committed to assisting offenders to rebuild their lives and has historically focused on the needs of children and families of the incarcerated.
The organization has served as a model for other community corrections programs across the Commonwealth. THE PROGRAM has developed and provided long-term technical assistance for new community corrections programs in Harrisburg, Altoona, Greensburg, and Philadelphia.
Since its inception, THE PROGRAM has worked closely with the criminal justice system to develop and refine a continuum of services that meet the needs of the offender population. The organization is committed to creating an environment of encouragement and accountability that has provided thousands of offenders the opportunity to rebuild their lives and to become self-determining and productive members of the community.