New partnership means jobs for probation clients

Released On 12/21/2017

The Circuit Court of Cook County is partnering with Safer Foundation to help probation clients secure long-term employment, reducing the likelihood that they will re-offend and return as defendants to the criminal justice system.


Announced today by Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and President Victor Dickson of Safer Foundation, the initiative is funded through a $4.5 million grant that Safer Foundation received from the U.S. Department of Labor to work with 563 adults in Illinois and Iowa.


A significant portion of the grant will be utilized to specifically target defendants in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Drug Court programs, so that Drug Court participants may start a job while they are going through the two-year court treatment program. In addition, Safer Foundation has offered to assist any other probation clients who court staff members believe are ready to work.


“We know that treatment, not punishment, is the best way to end the cycle of addiction and crime. But then you have to offer somebody an opportunity. And the court and Safer Foundation are ready to do that,” Chief Judge Evans said. “Through a referral from a probation officer, many individuals who come through our justice system will find a job that can provide the stability they need for themselves and their families.”


Starting today, probation officers will begin referring clients to Safer Foundation to help them find careers in a variety of fields – such as health care, transportation, construction and manufacturing.


“The mission of Safer Foundation is to assist people with records to secure private sector employment. This is one of the most important things we can do to improve public safety,” President Dickson said. “Our partnership with the Circuit Court of Cook County Drug Court Program is an ideal opportunity to maximize the benefit of the DOL Advancing Careers & Employment Grant and achieve this vital mission.”


Assisting in Safer Foundation’s effort in this initiative is Matthew McFarland, a graduate of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Drug Court program at the Maywood Courthouse. McFarland currently works as a program director at Safer Foundation.


About the Safer Foundation

Since 1972, Safer Foundation, a social impact agency, has pursued its mission to support, through a full spectrum of services, the efforts of people with criminal records to become employed, law-abiding members of the community – and as a result, reduce recidivism. For more information, visit




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