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Criminal Justice Symposium

[Under Construction]            

Cherry Blossom Ball
Annual Conference
Government Affairs
Executive Direction
Meet The Board  



October 27- 30, 2011

Holiday Inn Harrisburg East

 4751 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111



View Criminal Justice Agenda


Our theme this year is

Restorative Justice, Mental Illness and Recovery:

A Model for the Criminal Justice System: Alternatives to Incarceration


Keynote Speaker
John E Wetzel

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Gov. Tom Corbett nominated John E Wetzel as secretary of the Department of Corrections on December 17, 2010 and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on May 3, 2011.

Wetzel began his corrections career in 1989 as an officer at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.  In 1992 he transferred to the Berks County Prison, where he rose through the ranks, serving as a correctional officer, a treatment counselor, supervisor of treatment services and training academy director.  In 2002, he was named warden of the Franklin County Jail.

He was appointed as the corrections expert to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons in June 2007, a position he held until May 3, 2011.  Since 2006, he has been a corrections consultant in the areas of operational and staffing analysis and vulnerability assessments.

During his 20 years in the field of corrections, Wetzel has presented state wide and nationally on several topics, including:

          - inmate labor issues
          - the mentally ill in corrections
          - working with the family of inmates
          - developing system-wide solutions to jail crowding
          - jail staffing and conducting vulnerability assessments

He also has had several national articles published on inmate labor, jail management and jail staffing, as past president of the PA county Corrections Association (formerly PA County Prison Wardens Association.)

Additionally, he has been part of several efforts which have reduced jail population.  These include developing a jail industries program through a community wide advisory board to increase the job readiness of offenders; initiating the first jail-based CareerLink access point in the state of Pennsylvania; developing a day reporting center which reduced the jail population by more than 205; and overseeing the construction of an award-winning new jail facility.  The sum of these efforts, and others such as court case processing, utilizing weekend incarceration, jail diversion for mentally ill offenders and others, led to the impressive fact that the average daily population in Franklin County Prison is lower today than it was 10 years ago.

A previous offensive line coach for Shippensburg University, Wetzel earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Bloomsburg University and has done master's level course work in applied psychology at Penn State University.  He is a member of the American Correctional Association, the American Jail Association, the American College Football Coaches Association and is past president of the Pennsylvania County Corrections Association.

Wetzel served as treasurer of the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority; is a founding member of St. Seraphim Homeless Shelter; a member of the Pennsylvania Forensics Inter-Agency Task-Force; a core team member of Brother 2 Brother mentoring initiative; part-time instructor of an evening truancy school; and is an ethics panel speaker for Leadership Franklin County.

He lives in Chambersburg with his wife, Theresa, and their four daughters.

Luncheon Speaker
Walter H Everett

Walter Everett was thrust into a year-long journey of grief and anger when he received the news in 1987 that his 24 year-old son, Scott, had been murdered.  He sought help through various support groups, but his anger continued to intrude upon his relationships as well as his work.  Finally, almost a year after Scott's death, and after much prayer, he heard the offender, at his sentencing, say, "I'm sorry."  Walt was then able to offer forgiveness.  Thus began an new phase of his journey, a slow but steady move toward healing.  He and Michael Carlucci, the offender, have become friends, and Walt advocated for Mike before the Connecticut Board of Parole.  Today, they often speak together at universities, houses of worship, and prisons about the healing that God has provided in both of their lives.

Walt is a retired United Methodist minister now living in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  In 1992 he married the former Nancy Bellmeyer Nogan, whom he met at  a Bereaved Parents Support Group.  Nancy's son, David, was killed at the age of 19 in a car crash.  Between them they have four surviving children and eight grandchildren.

A Plenary Session on Criminalization of the Mentally Ill presented by:


Ira Burnim, Legal Director

Ira Burnim is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, who joined the Bazelon Center's legal staff in 1988 and is now legal director. Formerly, Burnim served as legal director of the Children's Defense Fund and prior to that as a senior attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has litigated precedent-setting cases on mental health and child welfare system reform, managed health care, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Burnim is a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.


The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law was founded in 1972 by a group of committed lawyers and professionals who worked in the mental health and mental retardation fields.    Formerly known as the Mental Health Law Project, the name today honors Judge David L. Bazelon who is credited with pioneering the field of mental health law.


The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of people with mental illness through changes in policy and law.  For 38 years they have advocated for the rights and dignity of people with mental disabilities based on five basic principles: Community Integration, Self-Determination, Strengthening Families, Access to Services, and Access to Courts.  They work at the federal level in Congress and in the Courts, fighting against stigma and discrimination and for the rights, autonomy and dignity of adults and children diagnosed with mental illness.




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