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Women and Reentry: Evaluation of the St. Leonard's Ministries' Grace House Program

NCJ Number
Jennifer E. Cossyleon; Jessica Reichert
Date Published
December 2015
105 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the Illinois Grace House, a voluntary, residential prisoner reentry program for women that provides them with housing, substance abuse treatment, psychological services, life skills mentoring, and education and vocational services.
Applications collected between 2009 and 2012 indicated Grace House served an average of 20 residents per year. In 2012, the residents' average age was 21 years old. Fifty percent had come from prison, 33 percent had come from jail, and the rest entered the program from a substance abuse treatment facility. The 25 women sampled for this study had an average of 26 prior arrests. Most had at least one prior property conviction; 72 percent had at least one prior drug conviction, and 40 percent had a conviction for a violent crime. Most had been incarcerated an average of three times. Recommendations for program improvement and expansion are based on the evaluation findings and prior relevant research reported in the literature. One recommendation is that the resident selection process be improved by notifying incarcerated women of the program's services upon release, and screening instruments should be used to guide program admission. Applicant interviews and a period of conditional acceptance would assist in ensuring individual needs are met. Grace House does not currently measure clients' risk, needs, and assets. This should be done in order to address criminogenic needs of clients and reduce recidivism. Program services should be selected based on these initial assessments. Other recommendations are to provide vocational training tailored to market demands and skills needed to qualify for more than entry-level positions; increase resident autonomy; train all staff and volunteers; use evidence-based case management; improve communication; and collect data for quality improvement. 18 tables, 180 references, and appended field observation announcement and sample Grace House monthly calendar

Date Published: December 1, 2015