Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $539,732)
The Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) is designed to provide funding to state units of government to develop and implement institutional and community corrections-based offender reentry programs. The PRI strengthens urban communities characterized by large numbers of returning offenders. The PRI is designed to reduce recidivism by helping returning offenders find work and assess other critical services in their communities. The PRI supports strategies to deliver pre- and post-release assessments and services, and to develop transition plans in collaboration with other justice and community-based agencies and providers for supervised and non-supervised offenders. In FY 2008, BJA will again coordinate the PRI Program with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The design of the FY 2008 PRI Program is structured to work in conjunction with a DOL-selected faith ' or community-based organization (FBCO).
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will use its FY 2008 Prisoner Reentry Initiative grant to implement a demonstration project called Illinois Rx: Resources for Ex-Offenders, that will develop, coordinate, and advance resources for ex-offenders returning to selected communities with high numbers of returning offenders, persistent poverty, and lack of jobs and other resources. Ex-offenders returning to the communities of Englewood and West Englewood will receive various services as part of this new reentry management system. Pre-release services will be implemented in correctional facilities that are releasing the majority of offenders into the targeted communities. Pre-release staff will provide intensive screening to determine offender eligibility for participation in the demonstration project. Those deemed eligible will receive a host of services provided by the Community Mental Health Council including pre-release preparation, pre-release culturally sensitive mental readiness services, individualized mental readiness plans to support entry into pre-employment training, content-focused group and seminar experiences to promote self-esteem and confidence, and enhanced life and coping skills.
Liberation Christian Center will provide post-release services that will be expanded to include a job developer to help returning offenders locate and retain jobs. Kennedy King College will offer a crafts and trade vocational training program which guarantees placement into an apprenticeship program. In addition, spiritual counseling and pro-bono groups and seminars will be provided by faith-based volunteers and experts. At least 200 offenders are expected to successfully complete post-release services. One hundred offenders will be referred to Liberation Christian Center for enhanced post-release services. The other one hundred offenders will be referred to a faith-based community organization selected by the Department of Labor. An advisory group consisting of faith- and community-based partners, local law enforcement, probation and parole, health, educational, and employment organizations will work together to provide technical assistance and oversight in the development, execution, monitoring, and evaluation of the strategies implemented by the demonstration project.