ROCKFORD (WIFR) – There are around 900 parolees living in the City of Rockford and many will re-offend. To keep parolees out of trouble, the city has launched a prisoner re-entry program that’s shown promise in other cities similar to Rockford.
Parolees in Winnebago County will now have to attend a class. The first one is just getting started here at Henrietta School. It’s all part of a new program, modeled after one in Racine that city and county officials hope will help reduce crime.
Until now, Rockford has never had a way to actively manage its 900 parolees. The new call-in program includes a class where parolees will learn what to expect if they violate their parole.
“Explaining to parolees the consequences of re-offending, getting them involved in a planned system that is going to help their reentry back into Winnebago County’s Community is the direction that we need to go,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney, Joe Bruscato.
Information about programs to help parolees get their lives back on track will also be available at the classes. The city hopes if parolees get the help they need and know the consequences of violating parole, they won’t end up back in prison; a problem seen all too often in Rockford.
“We’d ideally like to get them to zero, but realistically, a reduction of the number of individuals re-offending on parole is important, this is a good step,” Bruscato said.
A reduction in parolee crimes could mean a drop in Rockford’s overall crime rate.
The classes will take place once a month with about 20 different parolees attending each time. The program is paid for through a grant for the community oriented policing agency