Jason Garnett | Chief of Parole
Jason Garnett was named chief of Parole for the Illinois Department of Corrections on June 16, 2014. Prior to his most recent appointment, he served as deputy chief of Parole.
A veteran of the Illinois Department of Corrections, Garnett began his career as a correctional officer at Centralia Correctional Center in 1994. He later served there as a leisure activity specialist I and II from 1996 to 1998 before becoming a correctional counselor II. While serving as correctional counselor, he held the position of chairman of the Institutional Inquiry Review Board and also implemented a computer program that resulted in processing offender grievances more efficiently. In 2001, Garnett became a correctional captain at Lawrence Correctional Center. While in this position, he developed various institutional directives and post descriptions prior to the opening of the facility. In 2003, he became a major/shift commander and was later named warden at Lawrence Correctional Center in 2004. He was promoted to Southern District deputy director in 2005 where he oversaw operations of all correctional facilities within the southern region, which included six adult male correctional centers, a supermax correctional center, two boot camps, two work camps and an adult transition center. He served in that capacity until being appointed deputy chief of Parole in 2007 where he supervised parole staff and parolees in 99 out of 102 counties in Illinois.
Garnett earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice in 1997 and a master’s degree in administration of rehabilitation in 2003, both from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He currently is working on a doctorate of public administration at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Scope of Responsibilities
The Parole Division has initiated numerous programs and processes to reduce recidivism, address parolee risk to the community and provide numerous reentry services for ex-offenders.
- The Parole Division has reduced agent caseloads by adding agents, while at the same time, increasing the number of contacts between agents and parolees. Lower caseloads and increased contacts provide opportunities for agents to assess risk, identify appropriate diversion programs and resources and increase public safety by actively managing the parolee population.
- The Parole Division also has developed a series of graduated sanctions to reduce recidivism, while providing community-based sanctions and resources. Part of this program involves the use of Halfway Back residential programs, Day Reporting Reentry Centers, localized drug assessments and counseling referrals and an extensive network of job training and placement programs.
- The Sex Offender Supervision Unit provides for specialized caseloads for agents who are specially-trained in sex offender supervision. These highly-trained agents focus on increased contacts, monitoring of registration requirements, application of new legislation, computer surveillance and adaptation of GPS and electronic monitoring equipment.
- Spotlight Reentry Centers are another important component of the program. The agency has opened seven of these centers in high-impact regions that serve as resource centers. The Spotlight Centers provide counseling, programs and services to support the parolee's transition into society. The centers also offer a highly structured Day Reporting Program that offers an alternative sanction for non-violent parole violators.
- As part of the parole monitoring efforts, the Parole Division has increased the number of parole compliance check operations throughout the state. These early morning operations conducted throughout Illinois help to ensure parolees are complying with the requirements of their parole. IDOC agents join municipal, county, city, state and federal law enforcement agencies in conducting the operations. The division is committed to cooperative efforts with compliance checks, Project Safe Neighborhoods and other local law enforcement efforts.
- The Parole Division has also initiated a comprehensive approach to the management of offenders charged and/or convicted of domestic violence crimes. Beginning with a statewide domestic violence training curriculum for agents, adherence to orders of protection provisions and swift action when violations occur, the division continues to update efforts to provide protections for victims of domestic crimes.
IDOC has actively engaged the community in the reentry process by developing the Community Support Advisory Council (CSAC) in the high-impact areas of the state where most parolees return. CSACs are community-based partnerships designed to work collaboratively with parole and other existing community resources to develop wraparound services for parolees, while assisting other groups with building community capacity to develop their own resources. Parole actively participates in CSAC activities.
The agency's parole efforts additionally support the Sheridan National Drug Prison and Reentry Program. Nearly 69 percent of the state prison population is incarcerated for a drug-involved crime. In a recent evaluation, the Sheridan program was reported to have maintained a nearly 50 percent lower reincarceration rate than comparison groups. In addition, a larger percentage of Sheridan program participants are becoming employed and getting employed sooner, compared to other parolees. More than 54 percent of Sheridan parolees were verified to be currently working, and most of them full-time, while a 30 percent average of other parolees self report working at any given time during the year. More recently, Southwestern Correctional Center has been added to the Sheridan.