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Erie County

ECRSSA – Erie County Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance: Providing Direction and Hope to Transitioning Clients

The mission of the ECRSSA is to provide support and services to transitioning clients through an intentional network of community and faith-based organizations in partnership with the criminal justice system.

“Transitioning clients” are individuals released from federal, state or county prison reentering Erie County after serving a sentence for a criminal conviction and/or people reentering a law-abiding life from criminal/gang related network involvement through the ECRSSA Call In Program.

Our vision is to be a county where transitioning clients are supported, empowered, and fully integrated into the community with case management support to include the support of a client mentor and faith-based community mentoring.

All Call In participants are eligible for intensive case management services. For those returning to Erie Co. from federal, state, or county incarceration, intensive case management support eligibility is:

  • Person ranks as a medium to high risk offender or has high needs for service supports such as medical, mental health, and/or D&A issues
  • Referrals can be made by prison or parole staff using the RSSA Screening Referral Form which is available upon request or a person can make a self-referral
  • When a Screening Referral is received, it is reviewed and eligibility verified
  • Intake date & time will be scheduled to meet with the client
  • Acceptance determined

We will help the eligible participant with accessing job training, employment, education, medical and/or mental health care, and housing (when the person has a sustainable income) while providing case management support during the initial six to twelve months of the Transitioning Client’s return to the community.

If the person does not meet the intensive case management criteria, we can offer less intensive case management support, resource coordination, to help guide the person in accessing programming for job skills training, employment, education, medical and/or mental health care, & other community supports.

Click here for the Erie County “Transitioning Client” Reentry Strategy Recommendations.

Sheila A. Silman, MS
Program Manager
Erie Co. Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance (ECRSSA) at the
Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC)

In September 2016, Sheila was named as Program Manager for the newly created re-entry coalition titled the Erie Co. Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance (ECRSSA) at GECAC in Erie, PA.  She was part of a group of stakeholders who convened for three years working on the creation of a countywide “transitioning client” reentry strategy. The purpose of the newly created Alliance is to support the successful re-entry of formerly convicted county, state, and federal offenders into the community and individuals reentering a law-abiding life from criminal network activity so they can reach their highest potential. Sheila and her staff work with law enforcement, social service, religious, government, educational, and employment professionals along with transitioning clients. This work is being done as part of Unified Erie which has a three-pronged approach to violence reduction in the Erie community.

Prior to joining GECAC, for nine years she was the Director of Supportive Housing and Forensic Services at Erie Co. Care Management (ECCM); a private not-for-profit organization that provides case management and other services to Erie County’s behavioral health, developmental disabilities, and other human service consumers. Sheila supervised a team dedicated to connecting individuals to mental health, shelter care, supportive housing, and other services who were reintegrating back into the community.

Prior to working at ECCM, Sheila spent 23 years working in various capacities at the Erie Co Prison (ECP) in Erie, PA. Before working in a professional capacity with individuals who are incarcerated, Sheila was a faith-based volunteer who met weekly with the women in ECP conducting a Bible Study for 13 years. The time spent working with, listening to, and encouraging these women was the impetus to obtain the education needed for a career to further help this individual. In 1996, ECP hired Sheila to work as the Offender Program Provider. She created/facilitated various in-house treatment programming, transitioned to the position of Corrections Counselor and completed her tenure as the Mental Health Counselor.

Sheila holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Master’s degree in the Administration of Justice; both from Mercyhurst University. She has served on the Board of Directors for The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Erie County (NAMI) for the past nine years and is a Past President. She currently co-chairs the Erie Co. Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB).

Click here to here Sheila.