Community Leaders and State Rep Introduce Legislation To Reduce Recidivism Chicago, IL – On February 12, Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside (ONE Northside) Violence Prevention Coalition leaders and 14th District State Representative Kelly Cassidy held a press conference highlighting the introduction of a new bill that would compel IDOC to comprehensively provide GED education to Illinois Department of Corrections inmates if they were serving more than a year long sentence.
During the press conference, people with criminal records and community members called attention to the lack of education programming in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Violence Prevention Coalition member, Ralph Edwards stated he “Waited for 5 years in an 8 year sentence before getting in GED classes and that the GED in IDOC bill will give people with criminal records a fighting chance to get jobs and pay taxes into the economy”. Vincent Connor, another Violence Prevention Coalition member says “Getting a GED and working while incarcerated is not an either/or decision – both are equally important because GEDs and diplomas help you once you’re released.” Carl Johnson, also an active Violence Prevention Coalition member agrees, “A GED is a breakthrough that can lead to many more.” The pending state legislation would make Illinois Department of Correction accountable for providing timely GED assessment and education.
The goal of this legislation is to ensure that people with criminal records are equipped to successfully integrate and participate in economic opportunities and obtain jobs that prevent them from returning to IDOC. Inmates who participate in corrections education programs have 43% lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not participate in corrections education. People with criminal records who secure jobs upon release are less likely to recidivate. When one person recidivates, it costs the State of Illinois $118, 746! Investing in GED education in IDOC is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Providing the necessary education for inmates will reduce recidivism events and effectively save the State of Illinois money that can be used in other much needed areas. For more information, please contact: Anna Mangahas, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-251-1721