Durbin, Duckworth Announce $1.4 Million In DOJ Funding To Strengthen Reentry Strategies And Reduce Recidivism

WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced a total of $1,464,808 in Department of Justice (DOJ) awards for Illinois communities to help prevent recidivism, improve reentry strategies, and reduce crime. The funding, awarded by DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), will go to Heartland Alliance’s READI Program in Chicago and Winnebago County’s Resource Intervention Center in Rockford. 

“The funding announced today will enhance ongoing efforts in Chicago and Rockford to provide supportive services and interventions for previously incarcerated people, as well as those on pretrial and probation supervision,” Durbin said. “Senator Duckworth and I will continue to support these federal investments, which have helped many get back on their feet, find jobs, and become productive members of the community after incarceration.”

“It’s common sense that once incarcerated Americans complete their sentences and return to society, they should have a fair chance to lead safer, more lawful and fulfilled lives,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m glad that programs like Chicago’s READI and Winnebago County’s Resource Intervention Center are receiving federal support to help ensure that happens.”

Heartland Alliance’s READI Chicago will receive $750,000 for READI for Reentry, a program that will deliver pre- and post-release services to men returning from prison to Chicago who are at the highest risk for gun violence involvement. READI for Reentry will fill the gap in pre-release programming between Illinois Department of Corrections and Chicago, remove barriers to crucial resources following incarceration, help to rebuild lives, and invest in work to make participants and communities safer. This funding is from the BJA FY 21 Second Chance Act Community-Based Reentry Program.

“READI Chicago can now bring elements of its violence prevention programming and cognitive behavioral interventions into prisons, so that people can start preparing for successful and safe reintegration into the community and workforce before they come home,” said Sophia Manuel, senior program manager of READI for Reentry. “Upon their release from incarceration, they can be immediately referred to services in Chicago to help set them up for success. READI for Reentry will offer men the skills and resources to stay safe, stable, and out of prison.”

“Through my personal experience providing direct service across Chicago to men recently released from prison, I’ve seen how disinvestment and lack of opportunity keeps people from moving forward, sometimes even decades after they have served their sentences,” READI Chicago Senior Director Eddie Bocanegra said. “Federal investments like these are critical to undoing decades of harm to communities of color, and it’s crucial that we continue investing in helping people to rebuild their lives after incarceration to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to fully participate in society.”

Winnebago County will receive $714,808 for the Resource Intervention Center (RIC) Expansion Project to expand hours and programming at RIC in Rockford. RIC houses comprehensive services for people involved in the Winnebago County court system. Its mission is to reduce recidivism in Winnebago County by providing therapeutic and educational services to clients who are court-involved. This funding is from the BJA FY 21 Smart Probation: Innovations in Supervision Initiative. 

“The Resource Intervention Center is thrilled and appreciative to have been awarded $714,808 to expand both hours and programming,” said Debbie Jarvis, Director of Court Services for the 17th Judicial Circuit. “A variety of programing is currently offered Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the additional funding will allow expansion into the evening for both the Partner Abuse Intervention Program and the Thinking 4 Change program, both of which have the goal of reducing recidivism in Winnebago County.  Currently, both of these programs are in high demand and have wait lists for admission.  The additional funding will allow clients to receive these services in a quicker timeframe.”