Community Support Advisory Council (CSAC-West)
What is CSAC
The Community Support Advisory Council (CSAC) is an Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) faith-based re- entry program whose primary role is to build support within the community on behalf of the formally incarcerated who are returning home.
CSAC works by bringing together a collaboration of community leaders, local residents, provider agencies and businesses to provide a wide array of employment and supportive services to meet the material and spiritual needs of the formally incarcerated as they return to their families and communities.
CSAC initially works inside the IDOC by meeting with the inmates to build relationships and to orient them to services available upon their release. Relationships developed inside IDOC are then continued in the community as CSAC and its partners reach-out to meet the needs of the returning citizens.
The Council meets monthly in order to develop best practices for prisoner re-entry and to make policy
recommendations to the IDOC. In addition, the council addresses identified prisoner re-entry barriers and promotes community awareness of ex-offender re-entry issues. Through the work of the CSAC, community safety is increased and recidivism rates are reduced.
CSAC works in partnership with Parole, TASC, Safer Foundation, Westcare, CiviGenics, Placement Resource Unit, Sheridan and Southwestern Correctional Centers, along with other diverse community entities.
CSAC services include education, housing, counseling, ID replacement, career training, healthcare, legal, chemical dependency treatment, mental health services, transportation, food, clothing, job readiness training and job placement.
Other services provided by CSAC-West include computer lab/classes, financial literacy, haircuts, hygiene kits, voicemail boxes, doctor office visits, family connections/reunification and a new suit program.
An important component of CSAC is the overcomer/mentorship group meetings. These meetings are held weekly in order to help parolees reintegrate into their communities. Overcomer meetings allow each participant the opportunity to share issues they may be facing in a non-judgmental environment so that they may receive spiritual encouragement, enlightenment and motivation to overcome their hardships. This is also a forum to celebrate victories participants have experienced. Moreover, the meeting allows community members to get to know the parolees in a safe and non-threatening environment. Parolees may invite their family members to these meetings, which promotes family reunification.
CSAC Goals & Objectives
- CSAC builds a relationship with inmates prior to their release in order to better serve them by easing thepressures they face upon release. CSAC works to assess the capacity of the community to service the returning citizens' employment and supportive service needs and leads the efforts in the community to develop the necessary partnerships and collaborative relationships to meet the parolees' needs.
- CSAC strives to continue a relationship with the inmates after release through regularly scheduled support group meetings, mentoring and advocacy.
- CSAC develops a network of local stakeholders and service providers who are working to remove the barriers to successful re-entry of ex-offenders. Removal of these barriers promotes community safety, builds community trust and reduces recidivism.
- CSAC serves as a direct link to IDOC to ensure that the community and parolees' needs are being met and any concerns are being addressed.
Download the CSAC Spring 2011 Quarterly Newsletter
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