Detainee Programs and Services
Inmate Services is made up of Correctional Rehabilitation Workers (CRW’s) who serve as the human service liaisons to the detainees assisting them with needs as it relates to their confinement as well as ongoing needs they may have within the community. The CRW’s serve as a bridge to the detainee’s families and loved ones assisting with property, legal documentation, etc. CRW’s process all detainee requests and grievances, pertaining to their needs and any challenges they may have while in our custody.
The Law and Public Librarians also serve within Inmate Services. They assist detainees with legal research as it relates to their cases and with finding books they wish to read for literacy advancement, general interest, inspiration or leisure.
Sheriff’s Rehabilitative Programs
The Sheriff’s Rehabilitative Programs provide programming services that allow inmates an opportunity to engage in meaningful and pro-social ways while incarcerated at the Cook County Department of Corrections. The goal of Sheriff’s Rehabilitative Programs is to prepare individuals for reintegration into our communities.
- Substance Abuse
- Mental Health Transition Center (MHTC)
- Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort (SAVE)
- Enrichment Programs
- Recipe for Change
- Veteran Services
- Community Support
Religious programs support community organizations in their endeavors to provide spiritual guidance and charitable resources to detainees. Religious volunteer programs are offered on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, with a one-year volunteer participation minimum. Volunteers assist with Sunday worship services or other religious/faith-based education programs.
Organizations interested in offering religious volunteer programs must submit an application and attend an annual volunteer training session. There are two applications periods per year which occur from March 1-15 and August 15-29. Voluneer training sessions are held four times per year in Feburary, April, June and August. For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chicago Board of Education offers high school classes to detainees ages 17-21 through their onsite facility, Consuela B. York Alternative High School.
The PACE Institute is another onsite organization that offers Adult Basic Education and General Education Diploma (GED) preparation.
ConTextos is “An intensive writing program that incorporates peaceful conflict resolution and trauma-informed practices to develop pro-social behaviors” and therapeutic interventions.
DePaul University is currently offering 3-hour college course credits to detainees by providing classroom instruction onsite at CCDOC. The Inside Out Model utilized by DePaul University’s Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning & Community Service Studies allows individuals in custody to study in a classroom alongside non-incarcerated DePaul University students.
Substance abuse treatment programs are court-ordered. Detainees are eligible for services based on their charge type and security classification. Detainees must present with issues related to substance use and dependence.
Contracted provider that offers substance abuse to the male inmate population.
In-house substance abuse program for the female inmate population; THRIVE stands for Therapeutic Healing Recovery Initiative for Vitality and Empowerment.
Human Trafficking Response Team (HTRT)
The HTRT, formed in 2009, works in collaboration with Cook County Sheriff’s Police to help human trafficking victims and prostituted women and girls. The team is comprised of mental health professionals, health service providers, addiction specialists, and case managers. HTRT staff, some of which are former victims themselves, refer the sexually exploited individuals to our trauma informed service partners.
The practice of yoga imparts skills which increase participants’ sense of self-awareness, personal responsibility, and problem-solving abilities. The increased capacity for mindfulness fostered by yoga is a benefit to participants during their time in custody, and continues to serve them after their return to the community. The majority of yoga instruction at CCDOC is trauma-informed, taking the specific needs of this population into account.
Established in 2012, the chess program is believed to be the first of its kind nationally. Detainees are given weekly chess lessons and participate regularly in chess tournaments. More recently, players were challenged to compete online; they participated in three international online chess matches. Detainees learn to apply critical thinking skills, patience, impulse control, and positive pro-social interactions. Individuals must demonstrate good behavior during their time in CCDOC custody in order to be considered for acceptance into the program. The program is available to inmates throughout the entire jail, and is facilitated by CCDOC programming staff and volunteers.
Recipe for Change
Recipe for Change was founded by Italian Chef Bruno Abate. Five days a week, detainees are immersed in culinary skills training in a state-of-the-art industrial-grade kitchen.
The students are not only taught food preparation and recipes, but also receive instruction on nutrition, safety and sanitation and proper serving etiquette.
Participants who complete the program gain knowledge in the following skills:
- Culinary arts
- Food sanitation
- Artistic painting
*501C run by a non-profit organization. Interest in program participation is not a guarantee of admission. Willing parties undergo a rigorous application process that considers violent criminal background, the nature of the applicant’s charges and security classification.
Sheriff’s Garden Program
The mission of the Cook County Sheriff’s Garden Program is to increase participants’ skillset by offering them a routine working environment and transforming destructive behavior into conscious life-enhancing decisions.
History of the Garden Program
The program began in the pre-release center in 1993, incorporating inmate labor to its 600-square-foot seasonal vegetable garden.
Over 25 years, the program has shipped approximately 50 tons of fresh produce to non-profits, taught horticulture to more than 500 non-violent detainees, and certified more than 200 Master Gardeners who underwent classroom instruction and hands-on testing.
In 2010, the construction of a 1,500 square foot greenhouse helped extend the farming season. A year later, the garden’s land was expanded into 2 acres of “classroom” workspace for the horticultural program. Currently, one acre cultivates flowers and the other vegetables.
Benefits of the Sheriff’s Garden Program
Horticulture therapy provides numerous psychological and physical benefits such as patience, peer collaboration, strong work ethic and aerobic exercise.
The self-sustaining program comes at no cost to tax-payers. All proceeds are deposited into the inmate welfare fund that finances the garden and other rehabilitative programs. Detainees help sell the harvest to local restaurants and at the Daley Plaza Farmer’s Market, giving them the opportunity to learn employable skills such as business operations, production, packaging, delivery, bookkeeping and marketing.
Our restaurant supporters are particularly interested in purchasing micro-greens such as arugula, mustard greens and basil. Their support proves to extend beyond a business transaction when they hire the program’s graduates. Over the past 3 years, approximately 8 detainees have pursued a career with these local restaurants.
Visit the links to support our partners:
Former military service members who self-identify as veterans during intake may be eligible for housing in a veteran’s living unit and benefit from veteran-specific programs such as yoga, health education and veteran peer support.
Community support programs are designed to reduce recidivism by providing assistance in safe and secure environments.
Individual, group and family counseling assistance along with community referrals aim to enhance discharged detainees’ quality of life by improving their problem solving, decision making and coping skills.
Victims of the cracks in the criminal justice system, as well as West Town and Markham residents, all benefit from these efforts.
Markham Community Support Center
Location: Markham Court House |16501 S. Kedzie Parkway | Markham, IL 60428
Hours: Wednesdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
West Town Strength and Wellness Center
Location: 2418 W. Division Chicago, IL 60622
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The van is available for discharged detainees that need transportation to court, medical appointment, job interview, etc. An officer picks up the individual at a previously provided address, drops him/her off at their appointment location, and upon completion, and returns them to the initial address.
Community members schedule a ride at least one week in advance by calling 773-674-4686. Accommodations with only 24-hour notice are discretionary, and only made in case of an emergency. A staff member confirms availability on a first-come, first-serve basis; if a time and date are not available, sheriff’s personnel work tirelessly to attempt to accommodate each caller.
Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort – SAVE
For approximately five hours a day, five days a week, mental health professionals provide group and individual cognitive behavioral therapy for detainees, who range from 18-to-24 years old and come from Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods.
Participation is voluntary.
The curriculum focuses on conflict resolution, anger management, anti-violence and therapy to end a violent cycle and prevent recidivism.
Social workers are available to help inmates post-release to secure stable housing and employment.
Media coverage that highlights the SAVE program:
Mental Health Transition Center
The Cook County Sheriff’s MHTC develops a community support system for individuals with substance abuse and/or clinical mental health disorders.
Individual and group therapy with cognitive behavioral interventions focus on cognitive restructuring that address participant’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.
- strengthens participant’s community transition and long-term recovery plan
- aims to reduce recidivism
- eliminates criminal thought patterns
- equips participants with social coping strategies like thinking before acting
- offers mental health and substance abuse treatment, vocational skills training, and educational services
- teaches resume writing, professional and social networking, and job interviewing
The Community Van is available to MHTC alumni who need transportation to and from job interviews, doctor appointments and/or court by calling Sharon Latiker at 773-674-8436.
Supportive Release Center
In partnership with the University of Chicago Health Lab, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) and Heartland Alliance Health (HAH) – the Cook County Sheriff’s Office helped to open the Supportive Release Center (SRC) near the jail at 2755 S. Rockwell Ave.
The SRC supports persons being released from the jail who are struggling with mental illness, substance use disorders, or homelessness. Participation in the SRC is voluntary, and interested participants are transported to the SRC by TASC staff, where they receive light food, clothing, and access to showers. Individuals are also able to spend the night, while being connected to resources for longer-term care.
TASC staff at the SRC conduct needs assessments and facilitate linkages to services in the community, including substance use treatment, mental health services, supportive housing, job training programs and legal aid resources. Participants also have access to an advanced practice nurse (APN) on-site, to provide immediate medical care and any necessary prescription medications.
For those individuals who are identified as being homeless, Heartland Alliance Health (HAH), the leading provider of healthcare for the homeless in Chicago, is offering longer-term, more intensive case management services.
The University of Chicago is studying the results of the program for eventual expansion and application in other jurisdictions.
Willow Creek Community Church
Willow Creek Community Church has eight campuses in the Chicagoland area, with its broadcast campus located in South Barrington. Willow Creek offers several programs for individuals transitioning back into the community.
The Willow Creek Care Center offers the community access to legal aid, employment search assistance, dental and vision clinics, health services, food and clothing, among other services. Learn more here.
The Restart Community is a weekly gathering at the South Barrington campus where dinner and reflections in a faith-based environment are shared among those who may have experiences with incarceration, trauma and/or addiction. The meetings are an open space to share stories of struggle and words of encouragement. Learn more here.
Prison, Jail & Re-Entry Connection Breakfast is held the first Saturday of each month at the South Barrington campus and provides information for the formerly incarcerated and their families. Learn more here.
Recent Press Releases
- Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart Launches Community Resource CenterIn light of the impending evictions crisis and growing need for mental health, substance abuse, and [Read More]
- Sheriff’s Office Announces Electronic Monitoring Program Transition from Radio Frequency to GPS BraceletsTo address the continued increase of criminal defendants court-ordered to the Sheriff’s Electronic [Read More]
- Cook County Sheriff’s Police and Deputies Assist Chicago Police Department with LootingThe Cook County Sheriff’s Office deployed approximately 120 additional officers to the South and [Read More]
- Sheriff Dart Calls for Legislation to Require FOID Card Verification to Prevent Illegal Ammunition PurchasesCOOK COUNTY, IL – With Chicago reeling from a sharp increase in shootings and gun-related homicides [Read More]
- CDC Study Finds Aggressive, Timely Interventions Dramatically Reduced COVID-19 Case at Cook County JailAggressive, comprehensive measures implemented at Cook County Jail caused a dramatic decline in the [Read More]