Dr. Anita Bazile-Sawyer | Chief of Programs & Support Services
Dr. Anita Bazile-Sawyer was appointed chief of Programs and Support Services for the Illinois Department of Corrections on Nov. 16, 2017. She most recently served as warden of Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center since June 2016.
Prior to beginning her career with the IDOC, Dr. Bazile-Sawyer worked for more than 15 years for the Illinois Department of Human Services. She previously served as hospital administrator at Alton Mental Health Center, a medium-security forensic inpatient psychiatric hospital. In addition, she has worked as clinical director of Chester Mental Health Center, a maximum-security inpatient forensic psychiatric treatment facility. Dr. Bazile-Sawyer also has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist at Alton Mental Health Center and Chester Mental Health Center in both forensic and civil inpatient psychiatric services. Since 2004, she worked as an independent practitioner affiliated with St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute.
As chief of Program and Support Services, Dr. Bazile-Sawyer will have oversite of IDOC’s Mental Health Psychiatric Services, Health Services, Adult Education and Vocational Services, Addiction Recovery Management Services Unit, Chaplaincy, Sex Offender Services Unit, Volunteer Services, Environmental and Sanitation as well as Victim Services, Field Services and Reentry Services. She will also oversee the department’s compliance with the American with Disability Act (ADA) and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).
Dr. Bazile-Sawyer earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (Cum Laude) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master’s in Science Degree (Honors Distinction) from St. Louis University. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from St. Louis University after completing a clinical psychology internship at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center Consortium. Dr. Bazile-Sawyer completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Center for trauma recovery, specializing in extensive research, assessment and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Dr. Bazile-Sawyer has completed certifications for interdisciplinary training in child abuse and neglect from Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma, Department of Pediatrics and university teaching skills from St. Louis University. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and a veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard.
Scope of Responsibilities
Office of Adult Education and Vocational Services
The mission of the IDOC Office of Adult Education and Vocational Services is to provide academic, job preparation and vocational opportunities so offenders can take responsibility for developing their competencies in order to assist them to become contributing, positive members of the prison community while incarcerated and productive members of their communities upon release from IDOC facilities.
Addiction Recovery Management Services Unit
The Addiction Recovery Management Service Unit (ARMSU) formulates consistent guidelines for the development and implementation of addiction recovery management programs and the continuum of care within the department. The unit coordinates the screening, assessment and referral of offenders needing or requesting addiction recovery services. It monitors the care and standards of substance abuse treatment provided to offenders and serves as a resource for the agency. It also provides consultative services and training to agency staff and community providers about addiction issues.
The Office of Health Services sets standards for the delivery of inmate health care and evaluates the care provided throughout the correctional system, including preventive and public health, mental health, primary and secondary medical care and occupational health and safety.
Mental Health and Psychiatric Services
The Office of the Chief of Mental Health and Psychiatric Services develops guidelines, training and consultative services to staff responsible for the mental health treatment of offenders. The office advocates for a community standard of care to be met in each institution by supporting efforts for timely and accurate assessment, appropriate and empirically supported intervention and meaningful discharge planning.
Environmental and Sanitation Services
Environmental and Sanitation Services establishes guidelines for and promotes environmental and institutional health and sanitation practices. The environmental health coordinator conducts annual public health inspections at IDOC facilities, serves as a resource for compliance and audit personnel and performs liaison activities to certain regulatory authorities. The environmental health coordinator incorporates certain guidelines from regulatory authorities including the Illinois Departments of Labor and Public Health and standards-setting organizations such the American Correctional Association into IDOC directives and provides practical guidance for facilities. Institutional health and safety issues encompass a broad range of areas, including safety and sanitation, food supply protection and toxic substance use and control.
The Office of Volunteer Services is located within the Concordia Court Complex. This unit is made up of volunteer co-coordinators and chaplains from each facility, providing programs and services otherwise not available to the incarcerated men and women located within the Illinois Department of Corrections.
It is the responsibility of Volunteer Services to continuously update the Administrative Directives responsible for the actions of the more than 5,000 volunteers and to be certain each facility coordinator is processing the volunteers appropriately.
During the past year, IDOC volunteers have donated more than $2 million in time and goods to the inmates. Volunteers assisted in meeting the religious needs of inmates as well as offering drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation. Many of the volunteers work with the inmates who are about to leave prison, teaching them what to expect on the outside and how things have changed since their incarceration. Volunteers hold church services, Bible studies, parenting classes and pre-start classes. The coordinator of Volunteer Services is there to offer guidance and support to each of the facility volunteer coordinators.
Each year, a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet is held to honor the Volunteer of the Year nominees selected from each facility. Additionally, IDOC holds a memorial ceremony for the agency's fallen heroes, those who gave their lives in the line of duty. The Illinois Correctional Employees Memorial Association plays a major role in the Fallen Heroes Ceremony. In addition, IDOC honors its front line staff at the Correctional Officer of the Year Ceremony. Those being honored as top front line staff are selected for attendance, appearance, attitude, initiative, volunteer work, continuing education and leadership.
Office of Chaplain
Inmates have available the services of a trained chaplain in each facility. This profession serves as a catalyst for change in the life of the offender by helping to coordinate the accommodated religious needs of the offender by using volunteers from the community. Special programming for those who are incarcerated includes religious services following the guidelines of 20 Illinois Administrative Code, Ch. 1 Part 425, special holiday programs, religious study, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, literature distribution, collecting and logging donated materials, coordination of religious volunteers, brining in religious men and women, who are well known as well as the individual chaplain's normal institutional duties such as rounds, counseling crisis intervention and grief counseling.
Women and Family Services
Women and Family Services operates under the mission of IDOC with a concentration on the development and implementation of policies, programs and services needed to respond specifically to women's pathways in and out of crime and to the contexts of their lives that support criminal behavior. Women and Family Services, which was created in May 1999, serves as an important milestone in the recognition of the unique issues female offenders face.
Treatment and services for women are based on women's competencies and strengths and promote self-reliance. Women focus groups are evident, such as healing from trauma, domestic violence, sexual assault survivor and grief understanding groups and relationship building. Substance abuse treatment is designed to be specific to gender and deals with pathways into substance abusing behavior. To fully address the needs of women, the programs use a variety of interventions with behavioral, cognitive, effective/dynamic and systems perspectives. Gender responsive assessment tools and individualized treatment plans are used with appropriate treatment matched to the identified needs and assets of each offender. Spiritual programs are also encouraged and considered an important element of the holistic treatment concept.
Children and families play an important role in the management of offenders in custodial settings. Women and Family Services has created programs to maintain and strengthen family ties, particularly between parents and children. All women facilities offer parenting programs for all levels of offenders. At the Decatur, Logan and Fox Valley facilities, family activities range from day camps for mothers and children, video visiting programs, storybook programs, summer read programs, 4-H clubs and holiday activities for mothers and children.
The recent Moms and Babies Program, which held its first anniversary in 2008, is designed to help strengthen the special bond that is critical to a healthy mother and child relationship. The program at Decatur Correctional Center can currently accommodate eight mothers and their babies, with a long-range goal of housing up to 20 mothers and babies. The program allows qualified mothers to keep their newborn babies with them and supports the incarcerated mother in developing and nurturing a bond with her infant through effective programming and a safe and supportive living environment. The program also affords the opportunity to build a sound foundation for a strong family structure to continue upon release. Additionally, the division also recognizes the need for unique treatment protocol for pregnant female offenders. Special medical monitoring, treatment protocols, housing options, nutritional plans, and family service counseling are available to this targeted population.
Numerous opportunities in the areas of vocational education are available to the women offenders. An initiative currently being pursued is the linkage between the vocational program and employers in the community who are willing to hire ex-offenders. Women and Family Services has plans to use job fairs and community sponsors to further enhance this initiative. The goal is to expand home-based business opportunities for the female offender as well as create a foundation for financial independence for the mother and her children. Currently women are being trained as service dog trainers, pet groomers, nail technicians, cosmetologists, computer specialists, building maintenance and in the culinary arts programs.
Women and Family Services promotes cultural awareness and sensitivity through the resources and strengths available through staff, volunteers and community organizations. Mentoring programs are being developed to assist the incarcerated adult in bridging the gap between prison and community. Transitional programs are included as part of gender responsive practices, with a particular focus on building long-term community support networks for women. All women facilities have referral sources and funding for transitional assistance in housing, employment and educational needs. This support is through various grant-funded programs as well as through the department's Placement Resource Unit. Additionally, all women who are being released are given the opportunity to take home clothing donated by the community. The clothing ranges from casual to business attire. Donations are accepted by all of the facilities.
A final initiative is to become good neighbors to the community. Currently, Women and Family Services participates in the following community service projects: Wigs for Kids donations, Harvest Walks for the Hungry, Project Linus, in which crocheted and quilted items are donated to critically ill children, and Special Olympics activities. Through joint participation by staff and offenders in these worthwhile projects, Women and Family Services hopes to raise the level of awareness of volunteerism and good faith to the community.
Donations: Women and Family Services is frequently contacted regarding donations and freely accepts women's clothing items, scrap material for quilts, crochet yarn, color paper for crafts, children's toys (without metal), religious materials and greeting card donations. To donate items, contact Decatur Correctional Center at 217-877-0353, ext. 42.