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Chicago's Safer Foundation: A Road Back for Ex-Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
19 pages
Publication Series
Founded in 1972, the Safer Foundation in Chicago is the largest community-based provider of employment services for ex- offenders in the United States, with a professional staff of nearly 200 in 6 locations.
The foundation helps ex-offenders find good jobs and develop a mindset that ensures they will remain employed and succeed in life and has taken several unusual steps to help ex-offenders: (1) reaches many offenders while they are still incarcerated to change their outlook as early as possible; (2) uses a small group, peer-based approach in basic education skills programs, developed especially to overcome barriers to learning faced by most ex-offenders; and (3) relies on special case managers, called lifeguards, to help clients address transitional problems for 1 year after they have secured employment. Other special features promoted by the foundation include using satellite offices to expand the service area and developing creative approaches to obtain funds from State government agencies and private corporations. In 1996, the foundation helped 1,102 clients find jobs, and nearly 60 percent were still employed after 30 days. Of 72 participants between 16 and 21 years of age who completed a basic education course for ex-offenders, more than two-thirds entered school, vocational training, or employment and 58 percent maintained their placements after 180 days. 10 notes, 3 exhibits, and 4 photographs

Date Published: January 1, 1998