What is the program?
The JP Reentry Program is a rehabilitation program for Illinois County Offenders and their families. It is comprised of five components:
Jobs Partnership classes on character development
Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) on cognitive development
Subject Matter Expert (SME) presentations on life skills issues, including mental health, addiction recovery, fatherhood and more.
Family Restoration on bring families together during and after incarceration
Breaking Boundaries on building relationships between offenders and law enforcement
Why provide such a program?
Over 90% of those incarcerated will be released. Those who provide these types of programs subscribe to the belief that “doing time should not be a waste of time.” Efforts to use the time of the incarcerated to be better prepared to be productive citizens upon their release is a benefit to everyone.
What does this program cost the taxpayer?
Heaven’s View Christian Fellowship, a not-for profit organization, provides the program. There is no cost to the taxpayer. The bigger question is “What is the cost to the taxpayers for NOT doing such programs?” The answer would be in the millions of dollars from the costs of incarceration, crime and family breakdowns. We believe that “The dollars saved are in the change we make.”
Is this a religious program?
Only the Jobs Partnership component is faith-based. The character development classes reference New Testament and Old Testament scripture messages related to relationships, conflict resolution, attitude, integrity, work habits, and communication. These classes are non-denominational and open to all offenders of all beliefs. The emphasis is on the importance of a moral inspiration necessary for change. The other four components of the JP Reentry Program are all secular.
How do offenders get to participate in the program?
The program is offered four times a year. Offenders in the county jail are briefed on the programs content and all are invited to participate. Participation is totally voluntary. Offenders either fill out a paper request, or sign up on their pod IT system. Typically, in the Peoria County Jail there are approximately 250-300 offenders. There are approximately 100 offenders that sign up for the program each of the four times a year it is offered. The sheriff’s staff, not the program providers, chooses the 30-35 program participants. As a general rule, 35 offenders will start the program, and for reasons of release, transfer to prison, or just not interested – about 25-30 will graduate. The program is seven weeks long, with follow up initiatives.
How many paid staff does the program have?
There is one full time Executive Director, one full time Assistant Director, and two part time staff. Over 170 volunteers from all over Illinois support the paid staff.
Has the program been successful?
The Jobs Partnership Program was brought to Illinois in 2000, and since then has been active in a few county jails, several Illinois prisons, and the Federal Prison system. A recent recidivism study by Robert Scott, a Bradley University Professor of Economics, determined the participants in this program had a recidivism rate of 13% versus the state’s rate of 58%.
Recently Sheriff Asbell reported that the more holistic approach of the JP Reentry program revealed that the program participants at the Peoria County Jail returned to jail 28.5% less than those who had not participated in the program.
These statistics, while significant, can’t begin to measure the long-term positive affects of offender changes to themselves, their families, and their communities.
Why are county offenders the intended recipients for the JP Reentry Program?
County Jails are generally housing local, state and federal offenders that have educational, employment, and family ties to that county. As such, the Program can leverage these relationships for the rehabilitation of the offenders while they are incarcerated and in their post-incarceration.
What is a “Community Transformation Academy”?
The “Community Transformation Academy” is a future facility that would provide for the development of JP Reentry Programs in other Illinois Counties, and provide for offender post-incarceration services including vocational training, mental health services, family restoration and temporary reentry housing.