Program and Support Services
“The mission of the Division of Program and Support Services is to provide a continuum of service for those committed to the Department of Corrections from the point of incarceration to discharge from parole by providing a system for the delivery of consistent and effective programs that meet the needs of the committed offender and that enhance their ability to become a productive member of society upon release.”
The Illinois Department of Corrections has several programmatic and support service offerings. Below are a few of the program and support services highlights:
Hot Topic Workshops
Special workshops designed to assist offenders with issues concerning Reentry, life skills, mental, physical, social or psychological well-being, coping skills, etc. Counseling staff are responsible for organizing these events. Every facility is asked to provide at least one a month. Hot topics frequently are provided by outside speakers from various agencies and social service providers, counseling staff, mental health staff, medical staff and volunteers.
Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program
Illinois is one of five states participating in a Federal Pilot Program offered through the Department of Labor (DOL). The Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program assesses the strengths and needs of veteran offenders within 18 months of release. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Veterans Representatives go to facilities to complete assessments. Additionally, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) visits the facilities to bring veterans up to date on their benefits and to assist them with their verification of service. The verification of services is essential to these individuals in obtaining various needs such as short-term housing, special employment programs and health services. Once the assessments have been completed, the IDES representatives hold group classes to educate offender veterans on how to obtain benefits and find steady employment.
The program is currently offered at 9 of our facilities: Danville, Dixon, East Moline, Shawnee, Logan, Southwestern, Taylorville and Vienna. There are 22 IDES Veteran Representatives presenting 12 workshops, geared to training in how to:
- Write a resume
- Survive an interview
- Overcome the felony conviction
- Dress for success
- Obtain VA benefits
- Apply for a job
- Keep a job
- Housing needs (critical needs only)
- Where to find an IDES veteran representative and obtain assistance finding a job
Partnerships with agencies such as the State of Illinois State Appellate Defender’s office, the Small Business Association, The Veteran’s Outreach Program and Central Management Services offer specialized services and information. Some of the information and services provided include:
- Expungement of records, sealing of records, pardons and Certificate of Relief of Disability Information
- Fidelity Bonding, Federal Bonding, Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Veteran’s Services available at the IDES Offices
- Federal & State Services/benefit to which they are entitled
- State employment options
A recent interagency agreement between Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs and the Federal Department of Labor has afforded us this opportunity and Illinois has the largest program of its kind for incarcerated veterans. This program serves as the national model based on the wide variety of services and the interagency agreement that brings so many opportunities.
The goals of this program are to develop and implement a comprehensive system of intensive case management for HIV positive individuals to promote healthy living and prevent the spread of HIV disease, reduce recidivism in the correctional system, and implement a system of care that includes community based housing, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment. The primary goal of this program is to provide HIV/STD prevention education using inmate peer educators. The information is more accessible and well received by inmates because they obtain it from their peers. Inmates are much more willing to approach the peer educators with serious health concerns because they are inmates themselves.
Each facility involved with the peer education program has an on-site coordinator. On-site coordinators act as liaisons between the IDOC Prevention Specialists, the peer educators and the other staff at their facility. On-site coordinators work with the prevention specialists to create a list of potential candidates for the program. Peer Educators deliver educational presentations during Orientation and TRAC. They also provide required statistical information to the program coordinator and attend monthly training and meetings. The educators are used as a resource by healthcare staff and inmates alike. Since HIV education is mandatory, most Health Care Units greatly appreciate the ability to make use of the peer educators because it allows them to keep focus on caring for patients. It is believed that because of this program, many more inmates will be equipped to make better decisions when it comes to engaging in risky behaviors.
Project CHILD is a collaborative effort between the Department of Corrections, the Attorney General and Healthcare and Family Service’s Division of Child Support Enforcement. Project CHILD stands for Collaboration Helps Inmates Lessen Debt. Its purpose is to:
- Provide the incarcerated non-custodial parent (NCP) information on how their current Illinois child support order affects them.
- Provide the incarcerated NCP information on how to avert the accumulation of additional arrears while incarcerated.
- Assist the incarcerated NCP in requesting a modification of their existing child support order.
The Illinois Department of Corrections and Division of Child Support staff conduct informational sessions for incarcerated NCP’s to inform them of their obligations and options under the Illinois child support system. The Division of Child Support in the Attorney General’s office has staff ready to process the NCP’s modification request.
Reentry Summits promote successful reentry by bringing resource organizations, government agencies, and service providers onsite to connect offenders to them prior to release. They are held bi-annually at each facility for offenders nearing their release dates.
In compliance with P.A. 92-0240, 730 ILCS 5/3-14-1(e), effective January 1, 2002, the Department issued Administrative Directive 04.50.103, "Temporary Identification Cards for Released Offenders". The key provisions of this directive are identified below.
General Provisions for the Temporary Identification Cards for Released Offenders:
- The CAO of each facility shall establish a written local procedure.
- Inmates must be advised that they may request an identification card, in addition to the requirement for requesting and obtaining the card.
- It is the inmate’s responsibility to obtain the required documentation for issuance of the card and the Department’s obligation to keep these documents confidential and in safekeeping for return to the inmate upon release.
- The temporary identification card must only be issued by the Department in the name of the offender exactly as shown on the committing court documents.
- The card upon issuance is valid for 30 days.
- Inmates who wish to obtain a temporary identification card must submit a written request to their counselor no later than five days prior to release date.
- The request must include a copy of their social security card, and a certified copy of their birth certificate.
- If the name on the birth certificate does not agree with the name on the committing court documents and social security card, a copy of the marriage license or court documents authorizing a legal name change shown on the social security card and committing court documents must be shown.
- Payment of the $1 fee.
- Requests meeting the requirements are processed with the Bureau of Identification, which prepares the card in accordance with specific guidelines regarding content and format.
- Upon release, the Temporary Identification Card shall be given to the offender.
TRAC – Taking Responsibility and Changing
The TRAC Program takes place immediately following orientation at a parent facility. This program is designed to help offenders focus on their goals and enter productive programming while incarcerated which will enhance their opportunity reenter society successfully. The program consists of 15 hours of introductory instruction on topics such as criminality, substance abuse, behavior modification, relationships and family strengthening, employment, education, health & wellness and goal setting.
Transitional Housing Units
Common living unit designed for offenders approximately 6 months from release and offering intensive case management review by reentry counselors and offering individualized reentry planning for every offender.
The programs in the housing units are designed for offenders three years to six months from release and offering intensive case management review by reentry counselors. The department currently provides reentry transitional housing units at Taylorville, Robinson, Big Muddy River, and Lincoln Correctional Centers.
- Residential based curriculum which includes both educational and psychoeducational material.
- Intensive case management of the offender’s last 6 months or less of incarceration. Through group participation of the offender on topics germane to a lifestyle and skill set outside the Illinois Department of Corrections.
- Through group participation encouraging the offenders to use behavior modification to establish a productive, crime free life outside the Illinois Department of Corrections.
- To teach the following subject matter through various group activities, throughout the offender's stay in the program, including:
- Parenting/Family Reunification
- Domestic Violence
- Anger Management
- Criminal Thinking
- Alcohol & Drug/Addictive Thinking Patterns
- Relapse Prevention of Criminal and Addictive Behaviors and Thinking
In the Women & Family Services Division, Lincoln Correctional Center established the Women of Victory Unit in July, 2010. Each of the five dorms has a theme and an assigned staff member to facilitate presentations on the dorm’s theme, arrange guest speakers, and plan activities. The themes of the dorms are: Hope, Integrity, Me Myself & I, Mind Body & Soul, Aiming High. The unit hosts 100 women.