The Grand Challenges for Social Work is pleased to welcome Carrie Pettus, PhD, as chair of its Leadership Board and Executive Committee. READ MORE

Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Initiates Innovative New Violence Interruption Program

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is announcing that applications are being accepted for Alternative Prosecution for Positive Outcomes (“APPO”), an innovative new program [in partnership with WEI] . . . READ MORE

 ACPO program allows treatment alternatives to some offenders


Programming initiative should help prisoners reintegrate into the community

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services announced recently that it has launched a new phase of evidence-based programming aimed at providing strengths-based re-entry support services to incarcerated individuals. READ MORE

Nebraska prisons launching new, ‘holistic’ approach to prepare inmates for reentry into society

NOV 25, 2023 | LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) | Paul Hammel A $900,000 grant helps set up program focused on positive thinking and relationships, and use of fellow inmates as ‘peers’

. . . State prison officials, in a press release, said that the 5-Keys programming is “evidence-based” and a “packaged approach” to preparing inmates for reentry. “This model works because these are things that all of us need to be healthier,” said Dawn Renee Smith, the deputy director of Nebraska Corrections. . .  READ MORE

NDCS launches new programs to help inmates reenter society

NOV 21, 2023 | LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) | Andrew Ward The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services is launching new program it said will help inmates reenter society with a better mindset.

. . .“Successful reentry preparation is about providing the right tools and getting the right person in the right program at the right time,” said NDCS director Rob Jeffreys in a press release. “This is an innovative initiative that takes a holistic approach to addressing barriers and building essential skills for our reentrants.”  READ MORE



JAN 12 | 4 PM


Congressional Research Institute for Social Work & Policy (CRISP)

According to the WEGOTUSNOW website, more than 10 million children in the United States have experienced parental incarceration in their lifetime.

Charles E. Lewis, Jr., Dr. Tamarie Willis, Dr. Carrie Pettus, Ebony Underwood & Adrain Burnim – MORE INFO

REGISTRATIONSeating is first-come, first-served.


JAN 13 | 9:45 AM

Strategy to Augment Diversion Programs: The Case for Financial Capability and Asset Building

The US prison system has become a system of mass incarceration. Yet, many incarcerated individuals have committed nonviolent offenses or are confined because they could not pay fines or fees.

Lissa Johnson, Dr. Margaret Sherraden, Jude Miller, Dr. Carrie Pettus, Dr. Jin Huang



JAN 13 | 12:45 PM

Grand Challenges for Social Work Roundtable: Recentering and Generating Equity in Knowledge: How Will the Grand Challenges for Social Work Go Grander?

Learn how the Grand Challenges framework can increase its impact on research, education, policy, and practice through innovation and collaboration.

Dr. Michael Spencer, Dr. Neil Guterman, Dr. Carrie Pettus, Schnavia Hatcher, Kira Silk


• NOV 2–3: Drug Testing and Community Supervision: Interrogating Policy, Practice, and Purpose Convening – The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

An invitation gathering of practitioners, researchers, academics, policymakers, advocates and activists for dialogue to drive practical change on the ground.

• NOV 3: Preventing Gun Violence: The Role of Social WorK Summit – The University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.

Engagement with experts from around the US to frame and launch a shared national strategy to address the nation’s gun violence epidemic. Key leaders include Eddie Bocanegra, Senior Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General, US Department of Justice

NOV 6: Learning Experiences to Advance Practice (LEAP) – Dr. Carrie Pettus presented on the topic “Dissemination Strategies for Non-Academic Audiences” in partnership with the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN). The LEAP program is designed to educate any interested individual about the nuances of conducting research in criminal justice settings. ABOUT LEAP

• NOV 15-17: American Society of Criminology Conference – Philadelphia

Dr. Pettus – Roundtable: Involving System-Impacted Populations in Research and Policy – providing an overview of methods that center the expertise of system-impacted individuals, including community-based participatory action research methods, qualitative methods, and community engagement in project development and policy reform.

Oct 12-13: Prosecutor Benefits Project Convening Denver, Colorado

    • Hosted by Mental Health Colorado, Claremont Graduate University, Texas Southern University, and WEI
    • Support from Arnold Ventures 
    • Research and policy impact summaries forthcoming 

Oct 26–27: 2nd Annual Convening Workshop for Prosecutor-Researcher Collaborations, Santa Barbara, California

    • Hosted by Claremont Graduate University and WEI
    • Support from Arnold Ventures
    • Research and policy impact summaries forthcoming    

Student Program – Social Impact Horizon:
Navigating Grand Challenges in Social Work



LEAP Scholars Presentation – July 10, 2023

Learning Experiences to Advance Practice (LEAP) is a multifaceted program designed to educate any interested individual about the nuances of conducting research in criminal justice settings. The LEAP program is a 1-2 year education and mentorship program that offers two tracks, an Investigator Track and Scholar Track. The program aims to advance the capacity and diversity of high impact research for populations involved with the health and criminal justice systems through specialized training and skill-development curriculums.

WEI experts launch courses on Utilizing Professional Peers in Drug Treatment Courts: A Course Series for System Actors.

This course series is for system actors working within drug treatment courts who are currently integrating or hope to integrate, professional peers into their settings.


  • The Dollars & Sense of Second Chance Hiring: FL Employer Engagement Forum
    Right on Crime Panel
  • Trauma Responsive Reentry
    Noontime Knowledge Webinar, Social Work Month Kickoff: Social Works Breaks Barriers to GO GRANDER!
  • Trauma Responsive Reentry
    Reentry and Reintegration Roundtable with Center for Justice Integration
  • Early Learnings on Trauma Responsive and Violence Interruption Diversion Programs
    Carrie Pettus Brown Bag with Urban Institute
  • Trauma Responsive Reentry
    Promoting Reentry for Young Adults: Perspectives from the Field NIJ Webinar

Upcoming WEI Projects Include:

– Two-year project to Evaluate the Impact of a Statewide Holistic Public Defense Program on Wellbeing & Equity Outcomes
– National pretrial initiative to Infuse A Culture of Data in Practitioner Offices
– Project to Develop & Pilot Violence & Retaliation Interruption Alternatives to Prosecution
– Project to Develop & Pilot Behavioral Health Literacy Interventions with Staff & Incarcerated Residents in State Prisons


WEI thanks Arnold Ventures for their support of our work with their recent funding to expand the impact of criminal justice transformation and equity.

Scaling “Retaining Talent” in Florida and Beyond: A Training to Assist Employers in Effectively Promoting & Retaining Second Chance Hires.

FUNDER: JP Morgan Chase

WEI is incredibly fortunate to partner with the Florida Chamber Foundation and John Koufos to work with employers on Retaining Talent of individuals with incarceration histories once these individuals are hired. This is all made possible by generous support of JP Morgan Chase who works to open up opportunities for individuals across the nation everyday!  RETAINING TALENT

Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office: Alternative Prosecution Program for Positive Outcomes Program

FUNDER: New Jersey Attorney General’s Office

We are thrilled to continue our work with the Atlantic County, NJ Prosecutor Office on violence prevention and violence and retaliation interruption. They are incredible partners deeply invested in the wellbeing of Atlantic County community members. We look forward to year 2 with ACPO.