Solutions to Poverty Summit:
Reducing Neighborhood Crime Through Positive Interventions
Policy Field Educator & Organizer
December 7, 2004
The Big Picture
The recent United States Census Bureau American Community
Survey statistics on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance
Coverage in the United States shows the number of Louisiana
residents in 2003 living in poverty increased by 42,419.
Crime and Incarceration
2003, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced approximately
24 million crimes, according to findings from the National Crime
– -- 77% (18.6 million) were property crimes
– -- 22% (5.4 million) were crimes of violence
– -- 1% were personal thefts.
In 2003, 6.9 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on
parole at yearend 2003 -- 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in
every 32 adults.
State and Federal prison authorities had under their jurisdiction
1,470,045 inmates at yearend 2003: 1,296,986 under State
jurisdiction and 173,059 under Federal jurisdiction.
Local jails held or supervised 762,672 persons awaiting trial or
serving a sentence at midyear 2003. About 71,400 of these were
persons serving their sentence in the community.
Louisiana Crime and Incarceration
• In 1991, the total population of state inmates was just over 20,000.
The year-end total of 35,823 inmates in 2001 represents a 79.0
percent increase over the 1991 figure.
• From 2000 to 2001, the Louisiana state inmate population grew by
869 offenders (2.5 percent). The growth in 2001 was the smallest
one-year change in the past ten years.
• From 1991 to 2001, the population of state offenders in state
facilities grew by approximately 5,000, while the state offenders in
local facilities grew by more than 10,000.
• According to the monthly statistics for adult Probation and Parole
the total number of offenders under supervision was 61, 718.
Source: Louisiana Dept of Public Safety and Corrections
Reducing Neighborhood Crime Through Positive Interventions:
Addressing Re-entry of people with criminal records
High density reentry communities are also high poverty
communities, often lacking capacity to meet the needs of returnees.
Levels of support for returnees are inconsistent statewide.
The staples (treatment, housing, employment services, family
reintegration) are not available to all who need them, and the dollars
that are available are not allocated to ensure successful reentry.
Legislative and administrative barriers create real issues,
particularly in terms of housing, as well as employment.
Statewide system is not in place to allow for reentry planning
(individual and community) during pre-release. Point of release
planning and support are very limited.
Safer’s Mission and History
The mission of the Safer Foundation is to reduce recidivism by supporting, through
a full spectrum of services, the efforts of former offenders to become productive,
law-abiding members of the community.
501(c)3 in operation over 30 years, focused exclusively on the criminal justice population
$19 million annual budget, 300 employees
Operates in two states with 15 sites and provides technical assistance in several other states
Diverse Governing Board of Directors (business, research/urban planning, legal, media) Five Advisory
Boards, including CARRE (Council of Advisors on Reduction of Recidivism through Employment)
30 Separate Funding Streams/Funding Accountabilities: currently operate programs funded by the
Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Public
Aid, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity, Chicago Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, Chicago Department of Human
Services, Illinois Secretary of State, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Illinois Community College Board
Provide direct service, as well as public policy and advocacy services. Safer’s competencies include
employment, residential services, linkages, contract management, technical assistance and research
based model development and implementation
Represented by Safer’s President on local and national boards, including the National Institute of
Corrections, the H.I.R.E. Network, Urban Institute’s Reentry Roundtable, Chicago Communities in
Schools, Chicago Alliance For Collaborative Effort, Council of State Governments Reentry Policy
Council, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, Salvation Army Advisory Council
Safer: Demand Growth
Safer Client Intakes
FY 2000 FY 2001 FY 2002 FY 2003 FY 2004
<4.4% 47.9% 20.4% 20.9%
7 Clients Doubled 2000 - 2004
Overview of Safer Activities
• Post-Release Community Services.
• Secured Institution Services.
Direct Services • Secured Community Based Services.
• Facilitate the C.A.R.R.E. Network.
• Support Legislative Change.
Advocacy & Policy • Publish Policy Papers.
Leadership • Government Collaborations.
• Policy Think Tank Partnerships.
• State Model Development Contractor
• Faith-based and Community-based
Organizations in Chicago, via Ready4Work.
Technical • Local and Statewide Organizations via
emerging Statewide Initiatives.
Assistance • National Advisement to Policymakers and
Safer’s Direct Services
Employment – Job Preparedness, Placement, Retention
Job Preparedness Training
Sheridan (Sheridan Correctional Center; statewide)
Job Placement, Retention for 180 days
Education - Literacy, GED and Adult Basic Education
PACE (Cook County Jail)
Youth Empowerment Program (Chicago)
ABE/GED Classes – ATCs, Harvey, Rock Island, Davenport
Supportive Services – Case Management, Linkages, Specialty Programs
Linkages with many providers, examples include Adler School of Psychology, Access
Health Care and Clinic, and Cook County Hospital
Crossroads and North Lawndale ATCs, 550 capacity, including housing, minimum
security, work release, substance abuse treatment, and education
Safer: Employer Relationship Building
Strengthen Current Employer • Employment specialists are at the forefront of employer
• They provide support, resolve issues, build partnerships.
Build New Employer • Employment specialist have individualized marketing
• Safer partner with Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity to create an employer brochure on
the benefits of hiring formerly incarcerated people.
Learn from Employers • Safer has an Employer Advisory Council that consists of
13 active Safer employers.
• Council participants provide input on how to improve
Safer services and recruit more employers.
• Council is instrumental in continuous improvement
activities like the employer brochure and new job
Acknowledge Employers • Safer hosts an Annual Employer Recognition Event.
• Employers and clients participant and share their
Safer’s Demonstration Initiatives
Begins upon entrance in prison with reentry planning, career development and
job training and continues to the community with two years of job placement,
retention, and career advancement; integrated service delivery with Gateway,
TASC, Parole, vocational and educational providers. Statewide focus.
Prerelease case management planning and job training, continuing to the
community with 12 months of faith-based mentoring, employment, and case
management supports. Focus on Chicago: faith-based capacity building and
community-based program provision.
Halfway Back (under design):
Community-based placement and programming for technical parole violators
(rather than returning to prison), provides counseling, education, job placement
and substance abuse treatment while housed in the community, with intensive
case management support while transitioning out of the center.
Housing (under design):
Transitional, independent housing with case management supports and long-
term housing planning, including financial literacy, credit repair, and job/career
Safer Foundation: Local Advocate &
Policy Thought Leader
Safer organizes and facilitates a community wide Council for
the Reduction of Recidivism through Employment
composed of over 50 members, senior executives from
Safer C.A.R.R.E. community organizations, business, politics, and academia.
Network Efforts include: Expungement, Sealing, Certificate of
Rehabilitation and Cook County Ordinance.
• The Need for Public Policy Advocacy to Reduce Barriers to
Employment for Ex-Offenders.
• Reducing Barriers to Employment for Women Ex-Offenders.
Safer Policy • Government Personnel Policies Impacting the Hiring of Ex-
• A Review of the State of Illinois Professional and
Occupational Licensure Policies as related to Employment
• NIC Community Corrections.
• Urban Institute Reentry Roundtable.
National • Council of State Governments Reentry Advisory Team.
• National Hire Network Board.
• Ready4Work Demonstration Site.
Six New Policies to Promote Ex-Offender
Employment in Illinois
State of Illinois
• Public Act 93-0210-Criminal Identification- Expungement
Allows for the obliteration or destruction of the arrest record,
fingerprints and “mug shot” of the individual. Expunged cases are
deleted from the court data bases. Any inquires into the case that
has been expunged will appear as if the individual has never been
arrested. Each law enforcement agency expunges or destroys their
records, therefore, it will appear as if the crime never occurred.
• Public Act 93-0211-Sealing of Misdemeanor Conviction Records
To provide for the automatic sealing of arrests and convictions
records for persons convicted or placed on supervision for a
misdemeanor or who have been without a conviction after 3 or
4years in case of a conviction or supervision.
• Public Act 93-0207-Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Good
To reduce restrictions to state professional/ occupational licenses
and employment for former offenders. For the State to certify
rehabilitation of former offenders to reduce barriers to employment.
New Policies to Promote Ex-Offender
Employment in Illinois
• Public Act 93-0208-Transitional Jobs for Ex- Offenders
Temporary publicly subsidized jobs that combine real work, skill
development and support services to help participants overcome
substantial barriers of employment.
City of Chicago
• Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development Transitional Jobs
Program Servicing Ex-Offenders
Establish a transitional jobs program for former offenders with felony
convictions through a grant provided by the City of Chicago to eligible
city certified contracting agencies. Program is to provide paid work
experience, on-the-job mentoring, case management ,job seeking skills
training, job placement assistance, post employment follow-up,
professional development, and supportive services.
County of Cook
• The Cook County Re-Entry Employment Project
To provide access to employment for former first time offenders with a
misdemeanor or felony conviction in county government and/or with
private companies that have contracts with the county.
In FY04, over 7,300 were served beyond intake by the
Safer Foundation. During FY04:
• Safer saw 8.4% of the State’s total population of formerly
incarcerated and probationers.
• Over 1,000 individuals benefited from the services available
at Safer’s two Adult Transition Centers.
• Over 1,700 clients were placed in employment.
• 47% were retained at 180 days.
• 900 served in new program models.
• 56% of our Basic Skills clients earned their GED, for a total
of 277 GED acquisitions.
Success may be measured by the lives Safer has touched, the families
that have benefited, the communities that were impacted. One
objective measure is the recidivism rate of Safer Clients.
3 Year Recidivism Comparison (1999)
IDOC releases 48%
Safer clients receiving
supportive services 28%
Safer clients achieving
Safer clients achieving 19% 60%
30 days of employment reduction
There are no quick, cheap, or easy solutions to the complex issues of
poverty and successful reentry. However, key factors that must be
• Living Wage Employment – To meet this prerequisite an offender must
be drug-free, reside in safe affordable housing, and have appropriate
• Stable Social Support – Strong family support and involvement, along
with positive community engagement is needed for long term stability.
• Collaboration – It’s crucial that the Department of Corrections, other
Public Agencies, Private Service Providers, Community
Organizations, Faith Groups, and Families work and plan together.