Supportive Services for Returning Citizens
Welcome to Our Brothers’ Keepers of Southern Illinois (OBK)
Our mission is to assist returning citizens coming out of prisons / jails to reenter society as responsible citizens returning to their families and community. This Reentry-Reintegration process allows our clients to begin INTAKE that includes assessment of needs and both short and long term goal development. Then the process begins for reading Literacy assessment and start of Life Skill and Job Skill classes that are essential for men and women who have been isolated in prisons / jails for many years with very limited life and job skill development.
A major expansion of the OBK program occurred in August, 2019 when a two story (three floors) reentry service center was opened in East St. Louis, IL devoted to working with both men and women who were released from prisons / jails on parole and probation. This allows OBK to provide the needed services required to become responsible returning citizens returning to their families and community.
Returning citizens who are released from prisons and jails have nowhere to turn and instead of starting a new life after serving their time, they again begin an endless cycle of criminal activity. While they often have the hope to become responsible members of society, it’s common for them to have no idea where to turn in order to do so. Our Brothers’ Keepers of Southern Illinois ministry is an ecumenical faith-based organization dedicated to the full integration of returning citizens into their family and community. This is life changing work as our OBK reentry staff work one-to-one with each of our clients.
The Reentry – Reintegration Process is based on a multi-step process:
- Intake and Relationship Building
- Information gathered about demographics, personal and criminal history.
- Resource Assessment of Needs
- Series of conversations about needs both short and long term to facilitate transition back into their community.
- Goal Development
- A service plan is developed with both short and long term goals. The individualized plan addresses many areas of need and helps determine which programs in-house and other community services would help the client meet their goals.
This holistic approach takes into account the entire individuals needs that a person integrating back into their family and community in order to be successful in their transition. This would include housing, social support, structure, stabilization and employment.
To meet our client needs OBK offers a complete schedule of Life Skill and Job Skill classes. No clients are left behind and all progress together, care for the welfare of each other, and they help each other grow their skills and futures together. A key element of the program is Literacy and Social Skill development. Reading impairment is the #1 root cause of prison inmate unemployment, poverty and incarceration. If reading impairment is not addressed, the individual usually suffers thru cycles of imprisonment. All clients are SORT tested for reading impairment before beginning the Life and Job Skill classes.
Life Skill and Job Skill classes include the following general topics:
- Learn Life Skills in terms of “beginning to heal” self and their families form the traumas of prison / jails and returning home.
- Learn financial planning / cash budgeting using the Dave Ramsey process and how to lease apartments and shop smart.
- Learn Restorative Justice opportunities to bring conciliation and how others have found resolution.
- Learn computer skills, resume writing and job interview skills. This includes social media competence with Smartphone’s, Twitter, and Facebook to increase and improve both family and friends communications.
OBK continues to be dedicated to their mission and vision as an ecumenical faith-based organization dedicated to the full integration of formerly incarcerated persons (returning citizens) into the St. Clair County, Illinois community.
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Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition
Diocese of Belleville Prison Ministry
Catholic Conference of Illinois: Prison and Jail Ministry
National Association of Catholic Chaplains
OBK Reentry Office:
614 N. 7th Street,
East St. Louis, IL
Office Phone: 618-271-7821
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