Illinois Reentry Housing Demonstration Program - Process Evaluation

  • Name
    David Olson ·
  • Name
    Barbara Otto ·

In response to an immediate crisis brought on by COVID-19, the Illinois Justice Project (ILJP), the Safer Foundation, and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) received support from the Chicagoland philanthropic community to implement a Reentry Housing Demonstration Pilot (RHDP) from June 2020 through November 2022. The original goal was to provide housing and other support to 30 to 45 people over a 24-month period during COVID-19. The original goal was met and exceeded, with 122 individuals served through the RHDP during a 29-month period.

The experiences gained by ILJP, the Safer Foundation, and TASC in carrying out this pilot project and its outcomes can help inform IDOC’s increased interest in reentry planning and support. Further, the RHDP lessons learned could help IDOC determine the placement of Correctional Assessment Specialists (CASs) in parole offices to address the needs of individuals on Mandatory Supervised Release (MSR).

The evaluation showed that returning residents who participated in the pilot (RHDP) had a recidivism rate that was roughly a third lower than a comparison group of individuals released from prison at roughly the same time. The success of the program was attributed in part to the use of “reentry navigators,” or caseworkers, who offered sustained assistance and guidance to participants as they sought employment and other supports post-incarceration.

The evaluation was conducted by researchers at Loyola University Chicago and Smart Policy Works. Funding was provided by the Chicago Community Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Polk Brothers Foundation, the Comer Family Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.