Without intervention, nearly 50% of offenders released from Illinois’ prisons each year will return within three years.
Well-run support and intervention programs can drastically reduce recidivism, citing rates of about 20% after three years compared to the national average of nearly 50%. Collaborating with transitional living facilities, Reading Between the Lines complements and strengthens the work of those other re-entry intervention programs. Its unique role in reducing the recidivism rate is to provide individuals with life skills that help them:
· develop new ways to talk to people and express opinions
· listen and accept different points of view
· develop self-awareness and control
· hear their ideas and voice validated, often for the first time
· recognize their own intellectual capabilities
· build confidence and self-worth.
Reading Between the Lines is not just a social justice program. The program is also an economic initiative. Reading Between the Lines is cost-effective. Its FY2018 annual budget of roughly $100,000 will support the development of the organization and delivery of services from the current 150 to over 250 people. If even a few of the program’s participants are able to improve their lives and remain out of prison because of new-found critical thinking and communications skills, they not only benefit, but so do their families and communities. This return on investment—a modest expenditure with outsized gains—is a tangible contribution to our city and to society.