Grant Recipient: Jenna Bluestein ‘13
Organization: Adult Probation and Parole Department, Sex Offenders Unit
Location: Philadelphia, PA
My eight weeks of working full time for the Probation Department were grueling, frustrating, and incredibly rewarding. I was asked to intern for a Probation Officer whose caseload is very special; Officer Palmer, my supervisor, oversees an all female caseload of sex offenders and prostitutes. She has recently become one of the main players involved in the Project Dawn Court, which is a special treatment court unique to Philadelphia geared toward helping women with multiple prostitution and drug charges. Project Dawn Court provides these women with alternatives to incarceration, specifically inpatient drug treatment programs and mandated Healthy Lifestyles Therapy. In fact, all of the Probationers are stipulated to drug treatment and sexual offender treatment programs. As a psychology major, and specifically as someone with an interest in Sex Offender Rehabilitation, I was eager to be involved in different aspects of the womens’ treatment. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing Supervisor who allowed me to not only be her intern, but her partner. I was able to interview every client when they reported for their scheduled office visits, and I went to every court case. I was even able to attend Treatment Team Meetings with the Sexual Offender Therapist, and in just those two discussions I was able to learn so much about offender treatment methods. Also, my firsthand experiences in Court have sparked my interest in law and updated my knowledge of legal lingo. Most importantly, I had the pleasure of watching many of these women succeed, from completing treatment to finding employment to acquiring housing. For many of the Probationers, this is the first time they have ever lived what we would consider to be a “normal” life. Unfortunately, I also learned of the overwhelming power of addiction and witnessed some of the women veer off course. Even though I do not want to be a Probation Officer, my internship still allowed me to explore Psychology and the Law and ensure that I would like to one day pursue a career in this field. My Summer Experience was more interesting than I could have imagined, and I will certainly never forget the women and their unbelievable life stories.