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Wednesday, November 24, 2010— Heavy summer rains that caused flooding in the basements of some buildings at the Cook County Jail destroyed dozens of boxes of women’s coats and clothing which were to be distributed to women leaving rehabilitative programs at the jail and beginning new lives.

Throughout the month of November, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office will collect gently-used coats, gloves, hats and clothing of all sizes which will be provided to women leaving programs with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department of Women’s Justice Services.

Established in 1999, DWJS offers gender-responsive programs for women focused on rehabilitation, job training and treatment programs which are aimed at ensuring a more successful re-entry to their community and re-unification with their family after time in jail.

Though intensive, on-site programs are key to the participant’s success, it is just as important that the women are discharged with support mechanisms needed to continue that success. Many came into the jail in the summer and currently do not have appropriate winter clothing, nor do all of them have clothing appropriate for job interviews.

This is the third year the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has conducted a coat and clothing drive for women leaving DWJS programs, but this year has the greatest need because of August rains that ruined most of the items set to be distributed this winter.

During the month of November, all sizes of gently-used coats and clothing will be accepted at drop boxes located in the lobby of each of the Cook County Court buildings in Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview, Markham and the Daley Center downtown.

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