Our Brothers’ Keepers of Southern Illinois is a Christian faith-based organization that is dedicated to the full integration of formerly incarcerated persons, “returning citizens”, into the St. Clair County, Illinois, community.
Our Brothers’ Keepers assists returning citizens in attaining productive citizenship by participation in reentry services, including supportive housing, life and career skills, and counseling services.
Productive citizenship is the full integration of a person into the St. Clair County, Illinois, community. Full integration is demonstratred by a stable lifestyle which includes dignified housing, necessary identification, employment and/or a reliable income (such as SSI, SS, disability), possession of life skills, a sincere willingness to become sober/addiction free as needed, and strong family and faith-based relationships. With collaboration as the foundation, Our Brothers’ Keepers reaches out to all social and human service providers, faith communities and government agencies, to help in the process of full integration.
Our Brothers’ Keepers recognizes that each person has a unique history, strengths, talents, abilities and challenges. Each participant completes a thorough self-assessment to learn the next steps of his reentry into the community. Qualified social service personnel assist each participant in the assessment and in forming a unique life plan. Special emphasis is placed on acquiring life and career skills designed for returning citizens. Through a computer-based program, this education also provides participants with instruction and practice for successful employment.
Since many returning citizens are released from prisons with inadequate or no support, participants will reside in supportive housing staffed by counselors. Reentry begins with shared-occupancy, which continues for each participant until he proves that he can pay for and maintain adequate housing in the long-term.
Although OBK is ecumenical and non-sectarian, there is a spiritual dimension to its manner of going about its work of restoration. Most of its personnel are Christian whose faith bids them emulate Jesus, whose healing ministry always included turning away from wrongdoings and rejoining community. Whether done for human or religious reasons, full reconciliation must always include “table fellowship”.