Parolees offered second chance in Chicago Heights

The Chicago Heights Reentry Service Center, run by GEO Reentry Services, recently held a transition celebration for men and women who successfully completed the intensive reentry program.

The Chicago Tribune attended the event, along with local community corrections leaders and the graduates and their families.

The center, which opened in 2005, requires participants to report daily for cognitive behavioral therapy, treatment and life skills training, so that participants are prepared to reenter their communities once they have completed community supervision.

Emanuel Barr, the outreach and operational manager GEO Reentry, told the Tribune, “By the time [parolees] graduate, they must at least be in pursuit of a job. We help them with resume building, give them job leads and direct them to a community college if necessary. We are pretty much a one-stop shop for parolees. And this program has been successful around the country.”

The Chicago Heights Reentry Service Center currently has 70 parolees in the program. One graduate told the Tribune, “They helped me a lot, and they really do care about us. It’s important to stay positive and to never give up.”

GEO Reentry operates day reporting centers around the United States, including several in Illinois and Chicago. The programs are designed to help reduce recidivism while maintaining public safety and saving taxpayer money.