Aurora: An initiative titled Restoring Inmates to America’s Society – better known as RITAS Ministry – was established in Aurora in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) organization with the sole mission of assisting individuals involved in the justice system to become productive citizens by providing a total support system of transitional jobs, transitional housing, counseling, and other needed services. Individualized plans of action for ex-offenders cover a 12- to 18-month period; these may include a three-phase substance abuse program, anger management classes, and services for their families. Recidivism among clients has been as low as nine percent in 2002 and 15 percent in 2003. Over the years, RITAS Ministry has served as a leader of prison ministry re-entry services and education in Aurora and the State of Illinois, developing strong collaborating relationships with other social service agencies, law enforcement, and government agencies in the City, County and State; a particularly strong relationship exists with the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The Executive Director of RITAS Ministry, who serves on the Illinois Commission for Prisoner Reentry and, in 2005, was appointed to the Governor’s Executive Task Force on Prisoner Reentry, has devoted time to educating court officials, university staff, and the community on the complex issues faced by offenders and their families. Funding for the organization is provided by the Fox Valley United Way, Kane County Board, Aurora Foundation, Weed and Seed, churches, businesses, individuals, and through other grants and a few contracts. In-kind donations also help offset program costs. RITAS Ministry has been honored by the Illinois Courts Services for its instrumental role in bringing the Restorative Justice movement to Illinois in 1998.
CONTACT: Linda Martin, Executive Director, (630) 966-0252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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