More and more studies and researches highlight rehabilitation, treatment and reintegration are better methods to address crime and other challenges as substance abuse and mental health issues. Peoria County Jail in Illinois recognized this and stepped it up through the Jobs Partnership Re-Entry Program (JPRP) – a holistic approach that takes into account the various aspects of an inmate’s life – social, behavioral, spiritual, and economic.
To present an overview of this multi-faceted program are Sheriff Brian Asbell, Ron Budzinski, Charles Keeton and Cheryl Parks. Sheriff Brian Asbell is Peoria County’s sheriff who’s been in law enforcement for over 25 years and has served in various roles and assignments. Ron Budzinski is the National Director of the Criminal Justice Architecture for PSA Dewberry Architects. Charles Keeton is certified in Moral Reconation Therapy and facilitates Peoria County’s Re-Entry Program classes. Cheryl Parks is the Executive Director of Jobs Partnership, a faith-based employment training and character education program.
Points that they tackled on this session are:
- An overview of Peoria County and the County Jail profile that sets the precursor on the need for a program that will address the challenges that both the county and the corrections are facing.
- The Re-Entry Study conducted by the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department that seeks to understand the effectiveness of the implemented JPRP.
- The JPRP backgrounder: Its beginnings, the timeline, and evolution of the program.
- A look into the five components of JPRP
- The Faith-Based Classes, the twelve topics and focus of the classes that aim to initiate behavior changes through moral inspiration.
- Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)
- What it aims to do and its inclusion to the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
- The stages and steps an individual goes through to get to higher levels of moral reasoning.
- Sample cases where MRT was implemented and its results.
- Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who are part of the JPRP.
- The volunteer nature of the SMEs that fostered an atmosphere of trust to the inmates.
- The different industries and fields that the SMEs providing expertise in the classes are from.
- Breaking Boundaries that allow inmates and law enforcement to have an open dialog, empathize with each other, and create positive outcomes.
- The Family Restoration initiative that aims to address the challenges that the inmates and their families struggle with.
- Looking into the results of the JPRP by:
- Comparing statistics before and in different points of the program.
- Highlighting the lowered recidivism rate for those who completed JPRP.
- Testimonials from the graduates of JPRP on how it changed their lives.
- The limitations of the study and the program’s unquantifiable but apparent success parameter.
- The attention JPRP garnered from Illinois’ Governor Pritzker on its success and scalability.
- Replicating the JPRP model by considering the importance of continuous training, certification, and support from within the organization, the partners, and the community.
- Other factors to take into account ensuring the success of a program by:
- Building and fostering relationships within the community.
- Designing a holistic program that is open to change.
- Highlighting the achievement of those who are part of the program.
- Providing further support to the inmates.
- Questions raised by the audience were about:
- The specifics of the study referenced in the webinar, the definition of recidivism and the authors of Moral Reconation Therapy.
- The number of people who show interest and become actual participants of the JPRP.
- The length of the program vis-à-vis the length of stay, and qualifications to be a part of the program.
- Other related programs implemented alongside the JPRP.
- Additional support for participants who might get triggered by topics discussed in the program.
- Mentorship and other programs available once they’re out of jail.
Resources Mentioned During the Webinar:
- “It was interesting to hear how the prisoners were reluctant to participate with the police officers coming to speak with them but in the end they benefited from hearing them. Additionally, the outreach provided to the families was valuable.” — Belinda
- “Loved the different programming/curriculum that was mentioned for the inmates and families.” — Christine
- “I learned new things and resources to include in our Re-Entry program that would make it more successful.” — Charmica
- “The need for buy in from community members and partnering agencies. Also, the importance of including experts from various professions and topics to reinforce the belief others have in the returning men/women.” — Claudette