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Reentry Specialist

Heartland Alliance

Job description

Reporting to READI Chicago’s Reentry Program Manager, the Danville, IL based Reentry Specialist is responsible for facilitating READI Chicago’s pre-release services in Danville Correctional Center. Specifically, this position is responsible for providing individual coaching, personal development and release/reentry case planning to participants though a trauma informed and restorative justice lens; working collaboratively with Chicago-based staff and corrections personnel; facilitating cognitive behavioral intervention and job readiness groups, and; adhering to the READI Chicago model, philosophies and policies. The Reentry Specialist should be an excellent problem-solver, comfortable with conflict and facilitating conflict resolution interventions, be energetic and flexible, collaborative, and proactive team members who positively and productively support high-risk participants. The Reentry Specialist should have experience in case management and group sessions facilitation, as well as working with very high risk adults and young adults, preferably in a correctional setting.




• Manage a caseload of up to 20 participants:

  • conduct needs and career interest assessments of participants
  • conduct weekly one-on-one coaching sessions with participants
  • facilitate the development of individualized participant plans to achieve goals; continually reassesses goals and progress toward goals with participant in weekly sessions
  • in collaboration with participants, create reentry case plan detailing next steps and resources upon release
  • maintain referral relationships for a range of support services; link reentering participants to appropriate services and benefits as needed upon release
  • provide positive adult mentoring and supportive case management services to participants
  • develop and lead work-readiness coursework and activities
  • match participants with appropriate self-paced virtual learning modules based on their needs and career interests. Discuss completed modules with participants during coaching sessions.
  • with an authorized release of information, contact family members or other social supports of participants to discuss their reentry goals and how to support loved one upon release


• Become a trained facilitator for cognitive-behavioral group work; actively participate in CBI consultation and prep groups; facilitate cognitive-behavioral group sessions; enter participant daily feedback into appropriate systems

• Understand and lead work-readiness, career exploration, and job search skills instruction, including “soft skills,” resume preparation, interviewing skills, job search techniques, and related topics

• Participate in professional development trainings including but not limited to trainings focused on principles of trauma-informed care, cognitive-behavioral interventions, motivational interviewing, conflict de-escalation, harm reduction, restorative justice, and other relevant concepts, and apply that knowledge on a daily basis

• Collaborate with Chicago-based staff, and participate in virtual participant case staffings and meetings.

• In-state travel (to Chicago) to meet with Chicago-based staff every two-to-three months.

• Build and manage positive relationships with correctional staff and staff/volunteers from other programs at IDOC

• Complete and submit all required paperwork, data entry, and reporting within 24 hours of service provision

• Exhibit the highest level of confidentiality and professionalism at all time

• Comply with all IDOC requirements, policies, rules and regulations during performance of services for the Program and at all times while in IDOC facilities

• Other duties as assigned



• Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study such as social work or psychology and 2-3 years of formal work experience performing case management, counseling/coaching in a social service setting, preferably with (formerly) incarcerated individuals, opportunity youth, or similarly at-risk or marginalized populations; OR, an equivalent combination of education and relevant work experience required.  Must possess a high school diploma or GED.

• Comfort working inside a correctional setting and with persons convicted of serious violent offenses

· Comfort working with high-risk populations with complex needs

• Excellent written and verbal communications skills; excellent organizational skills

• Skilled in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams, and PowerPoint; Windows operating systems; Zoom; and other commonly used software. Experience with prison email and virtual visit software such as GTL, a plus.

• Basic understanding of cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care, preferred

• Commitment to the mission and values of READI Chicago, as demonstrated by a professional approach that is strength-based, trauma-informed, inclusive, and grounded in human rights

• No current gang affiliations

• Individuals with criminal records and other lived experience are encouraged to apply, however Reentry Specialist must be able to obtain security clearance at IDOC. This means Reentry Specialist cannot have any IDOC infractions (Inmate Disciplinary Reports) for violating security protocol within the past seven years. Additionally, the Reentry Specialist may not have any immediate family housed in Danville Correctional Center, nor can they have been on the visiting or call list of anyone inside Danville Correctional Center within the last year.

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