On February 22nd, Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) staff visited the Will County Board Room in Joliet to observe a first for the county: Seven individuals graduating from the Will County ARI program. The Board Room was filled with family and friends of the graduates, the Will County ARI team led by Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes, as well as such notable figures as U.S. Congressman Bill Foster (11th District), State Senator Pat McGuire (43rd District), Illinois Public Safety Director & State Homeland Security Advisor (Office of the Governor) Rodger Heaton, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, and Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn.
ARI’s mission of funding local evidence-based alternatives to incarceration is gaining attention and support across the state of Illinois. “As a scientist, I was very encouraged to hear this program is based on facts and evidence,” said Congressman Foster. ARI is not only an alternatives-to-incarceration program, but focuses on rehabilitation and assisting individuals to re-integrate into their communities. “We’ve been banging our heads against a wall for 100 years locking people up. We spend $25,000 a year for you to sit and stare at a wall and do nothing,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Now you can be a constructive part of society.”
One graduate said her biggest growth was “to become clean and sober and to continue to live a clean and healthy lifestyle without stealing and that she uses the steps and skills she learned throughout the ARI program to change her lifestyle and help her to set positive goals for herself”.
The graduates successfully completed the 18-month program, which included Moral Reconation Therapy, substance abuse treatment, counseling, and job services.
Another graduate shared, “My life has hope again, because of the program.” Throughout the program, Ms. Michaud worked full time as a day care worker, attended all her ARI program groups and took care of her two younger sons. She is now looking to start her own day care business and “become an entrepreneur one step at a time.”