A professor at Southern Illinois University has been recruited by the Illinois Department of Corrections to review the effectiveness of every offender program aimed at reducing recidivism.
A team led by criminology professor Daryl Kroner will evaluate which programs are effective and which fall short, Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson told the Southern Illinoisan. The department will then "make a determination" on how to deal with the ineffective programs.
The team, which includes graduate students assisting with the collection of data and other information, has already catalogued the system's services and programs. Its next step is to evaluate about 200 programs that work with offenders either through state prisons or in the community.
The program reviews will determine how inmates' needs match up to available services and programs, such as how many inmates have substance abuse and mental health issues, compared with the level of programs available to match those needs, Kroner said.
A $1 million federal grant from the Department of Justice will fund the work. The remaining grant funds will be used to hire risk and needs assessment specialists.
Risk and needs assessment tools can be used to determine which inmates should receive more intense services upon their re-entry to the community with the goal of reducing recidivism, according to Illinois Department of Corrections Acting Director John Baldwin. The inmates' recidivism risk will be assessed more accurately using the tools, and then they will be matched to programs in the community that are proven to be effective, he said.
Kroner has been a member of Southern Illinois University's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice since 2008. He previously worked for 20 years as a prison psychologist in Canada.