Since 1989, Roosevelt University has extended its long-standing commitment to educational access and community service to the Illinois correctional system. Through annual grants, the Department of Human and Community Renewal contracts with the Illinois Department of Corrections to change the lives of offenders returning to Chicago’s communities by offering educational and transitional services both inside and outside Illinois correctional facilities.
Our first contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections was structured to deliver Bachelor of General Studies degree courses at adult correctional centers throughout Illinois. Over the life of this partnership (1989 to 2002), Roosevelt University served over 2500 students and graduated 517 students. These graduates have maintained an excellent recidivism rate of about 5.5%.
Our second contract with the IDOC, initiated in 1995, was to design and implement a reentry system for ex-offenders returning to the metropolitan Chicago area. The primary focus of Roosevelt University’s Life Skills Reentry Program is to provide the motivation, support, and employment assistance recently released offenders require as they leave prison. We provide both immediate help and a valuable ongoing support system for clients who participated in education, vocational skill training and life skills classes while they were incarcerated. Recognizing that employment is a significant factor in whether or not our clients remain out of prison, our caseworkers teach clients the job readiness skills necessary to find and maintain employment, provide individual case management, and offer continuing assistance with post-employment issues.
In a study conducted and completed in 2005, we found that of the ex-offender clients who participated in Roosevelt University’s Life Skills Reentry Program, 65.4% subsequently found jobs and remained employed 40.5% of the time during the study period. The study also found that the recidivism rate of the Life Skills Reentry Program’s clients was a mere 13.1% after two year.
We also contract with the IDOC to provide GED, Adult Basic Education and Life Skills classes to residents in two adult transition centers in the Chicago area. This program helps inmates gain the literacy and education skills they need to become more marketable in the workplace and successful in life.
The success of our programs demonstrates that education is the key to preparing individuals for useful employment and reducing the tendency to return to crime. Setting and achieving educational goals helps change attitudes and behavior by promoting self-esteem and building confidence. With the addition of life skills and job readiness skills training, rehabilitated ex-offenders can successfully take their education and skills into the marketplace and the community as responsible, productive citizens.
For information, call 312-281-3370.
430 S. Michigan Ave.Chicago, IL 60605(312) 341-3500
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1400 N. Roosevelt Blvd.Schaumburg, IL 60173(847) 619-7300
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