Reentry Programs: Should they be Funded or Not?

By Darryl Jefferson, MATD Candidate, TRDV 499

In May of 2008, I was employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections/Roosevelt  University’s Department of Human & Community Renewal to work in the Life Skills Reentry Program (LSRP) . We are a not-for-profit organization funded by the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve the ex-offender population in Chicago Metro area.

For twenty-three years, the Roosevelt University’s LSRP has been providing  degree-based and non-degree-based educational opportunities for ex-offenders within the Illinois Department of Correctional facilities and at RU facilities. In 2001, the Illinois Department of Corrections cut the educational funding for higher education based on the state budget issues. Since 2001, the budget crisis reduced educational opportunities within the prisons, and the Life skills reentry program was awarded to continue services for case management, personal career development classes and educational opportunities here at RU. The program was able to hold ground until June of 2012 when budget issues cut the program all together.  On July 1, 2012, our program was reinstated by the Illinois Department of Corrections to continue until October 31, 2012 for review, based on the grounds of  reducing the recidivism rate and the amount of ex-offenders obtaining and maintain employment.

Do you think the LSRP has made a productive contribution to the ex-offender population? Should the tax payers be concerned about this program being cut? Should this program remain funded?

Reference: Ex-offender Reentry Programs Need More Attention

www. Correction.com/news/article/29920-ex-offender-re-entry-program-need-more-attention/

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About Vince Cyboran

Professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.
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7 Responses to Reentry Programs: Should they be Funded or Not?

  1. Janel Collier says:

    The unemployment rates are high now due to laid off on the job market. Do you think employers will benefit on hiring ex-offenders?

  2. Cheryl Patterson says:

    Hi Darryl,
    What is the percentage of of ex-offenders that maintain employment and over what period of time? Has the percentage of ex-offenders returning to prison decreased due to your program? If so, I think this program should continue to be funded. Individuals who continue to lack the tools to lead successful lives will only cost more to the taxpayer versus providing them resources such as LSRP, which will impact society for the better and lower taxpayer cost. The program should be able to pay for itself plus some. If it is not effective in this manner, the program should be revamped to make these goals attainable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello Cheryl
      That you for your comments on this topic. The ex-offenders who participate in our program and maintain employment is about 35% who maintain employment over a year.
      Yes! The recidivisim rate of our participants returning to prison has decreased. We have 1-out of 250 clients per year who return back to prison. The tools that we provide here in our ex-offender program has helped individuals to increase their chances of being productive citizens by having that right things in place for them to work on restructuring their lives. Therefore, programs such as ours should remain in place to decrease so much spending in housing ex-offenders, and allow the tax payers money to be spent on providing them with tools they need to be productive citizens.

  3. I think the program should continue because alot of young african american men under the age of 25 didn’t acquire these type of skills for gainful employment BEFORE they were incarcerated.

    • Terri Moore says:

      @Darryl, thanks for sharing this topic and making us aware of the struggles ex-offenders who are trying to start anew are facing. I am in support of the LSRP continuing. I hope funding remains.

      • Darryl Jefferson says:

        Hello Terri
        I would like to make the public more of aware of issues involved with reentry programs.
        Due to the massive budget cuts, serveral organizations have been cut reducing the possibilities of this population recieving the services they need to become productive citizens. Thank you for your support Terri, and it is citizens like you who has give ex-offenders a second chance in life.

    • Darryl Jefferson says:

      Hello Lana
      I appreciate your honesty. The prison system is predominately african americans and
      what this program offers is a solution to some of the problems they may face. These skills that we teach here is effective and has benefited each of them to become responsible and productive citizens.

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