CHICAGO — A program designed to help former prison inmates re-enter society is expanding.       

“We’re committed to this work because we know the need is great. Data shows that nearly 2 million people in this country are in prison or jails and approximately 76,000 of them are in Illinois,” said Cook County Board of Commissioners president Toni Preckwinkle about the reentry navigation initiative.

Each year, about 26,000 men and women are released from Illinois prisons.

Cook County is investing $450,000 to grow the Road Home Program. It was previously available to Chicago residents, and it’s now opening up in the suburbs. 

The money is coming from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. 

The program provides navigation, career coaching, training, support services and paid work experience to people released from behind bars.  

It also helps prevent repeat offenses.  

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The expansion was announced in partnership with the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development (BED), the Cook County Justice Advisory Council (JAC), and The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) as part of April’s Second Chance Month observance.

A resolution will be introduced to the Board of Commissioners this week, designating April as “Second Chance Month” in Cook County. Click here for more information.