“The Safer Foundation is a non-profit organization in the Chicago area. Its primary mission is to reduce recidivism among formerly incarcerated persons (FIPs) by supporting, through a full spectrum of services, their efforts to be employed, law-abiding members of the community. The organization has been working toward this goal for more than forty years and regularly reshapes and reimagines their programming in order to best serve the changing needs of the community. A multi-method process and outcome evaluation of the Safer Foundation was conducted to understand the extent to which the foundation is achieving desired outcomes as well as to collect and synthesize staff and client input in order to improve client services.
Under the direction of Safer administrators, this evaluation was completed with a number of aims. We identified three primary objectives and their expected outcomes. First, it was predicted that clients enrolled in services at the Safer Foundation will have significantly lower rates of recidivism than formerly incarcerated persons not enrolled in Safer services. Second, data collected from clients and staff will contribute to the understanding of the service model and how efficacy and efficiency can be improved. Finally, we predicted that time spent in Safer Foundation programming will correlate positively with scores on two measures of work self-efficacy” (p.vii). (Abstractor : Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
• “Analyses of [Safer Foundation (SF)] recidivism rates demonstrate that FIPs seeking services at SF are significantly less likely to return to IDOC than are members of the general releasee population. This holds true whether or not clients chose to engage in SF programs beyond the initial intake. Furthermore, when comparing intake-only clients to clients receiving services, the data show that enrolling in services at SF after intake does not significantly reduce client recidivism rate, suggesting that client characteristics and not treatment are having a greater effect on the likelihood of returning to incarceration. In contrast to previous studies of SF recidivism rates, the present sample shows an increase of recidivism risk that correlates to enrollment in multiple programs versus enrollment in only one program or no programs at all. The reasons underlying this unexpected association should be further investigated” (p.54-55). • “The results of the interviews and focus groups indicated overall that SF staff members are serious and assiduous service providers genuinely invested in the success of their clients. We found that staff members are also largely familiar with the retention services model, appreciate the value of the model, and understand its components. Furthermore, belief in the quality of the ‘product’ is a predictor of staff members’ productivity and pride” (p.57). (Abstractor: Author)