Blanche Carney, commissioner of the Philadelphia Prisons Department (PDP), is a graduate of Lincoln University and Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work. Carney began her career with the PDP as a social worker. She was promoted to social work supervisor, responsible for the intake unit at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Carney was instrumental in implementing gender-responsive training to correctional officers, treatment staff, and contractors.
A strong advocate for drug and alcohol treatment and transitional services, Carney was promoted to the position of human services program administrator, where she implemented several groundbreaking new programs promoting efficient and effective services to the incarcerated population. In January 2015, Carney was promoted to deputy commissioner for restorative and transitional services, where she continued her commitment to providing evidence-based programs and services to the incarcerated population. In this role, she was instrumental in leading the PDP to provide reentry skills and education programming to incarcerated people who will be returning to our communities. Her role was integral in the City of Philadelphia winning the prestigious MacArthur Foundation grant for 3.5 million dollars. The grant challenged multiple jurisdictions to re-examine the approach to mass incarceration to develop and enact alternatives to incarceration for accused, non-violent offenders.