CAPCIL and Sheriff's Office say
jailees would benefit from life skills program
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[January 12, 2021]
On Wednesday, January 6, members of the Logan County Planning and
Zoning and Economic Development Committee heard plans about a life
skills program and received a request for funding.
Committee Chairman David Hepler said CAPCIL Director Alison Rumler-Gomez
and Rod Boyd, who works in the Logan County Sheriff’s Office, to
talk about a program they are putting together.
Boyd said the Sheriff’s Office and CAPCIL are trying to start a
program for inmates at the Logan County Safety Complex. He said some
individuals spend more than a year there while waiting on their
This initiative would offer anger management classes, parenting
classes and substance abuse classes. The intent is to provide those
individuals with an opportunity to try to change their ways and
Because families are impacted when a family member is in jail,
family involvement is also something they would like to see. It is a
holistic approach. Boyd said the program provides an opportunity to
show they are trying to work with individuals. The hope is that they
will become productive citizens instead of going back to their past
Hepler asked whether these classes would be offered in an individual
or group setting. He also wanted to know the initial costs.
Rumler-Gomez said the program would be a hybrid. They would like to
offer classes to group of eight to 10 once or twice a week. These
classes would be supplemented by one-on-one life coaching.
The costs would depend on the approach, but Rumer-Gomez said they
would usually be $20 to $25 per hour for the individuals performing
those duties. The classes would possibly be 10 to 15 hours per week
over the course of a five-month cycle. There would be a month off
for preparation before starting the next five-month cycle. Rumler-Gomez
said these numbers are eyeball figures for now while they figure out
When Logan County Sheriff Mark Landers talked to Rumler-Gomez and
Boyd about the program, they figured the costs would be around
Due to a lack of space at the safety complex, Sheriff Landers said
the classes cannot be done there but could be offered online.
The committee would need to bring the funding request to the full
board for approval. Hepler asked for a motion for $5,000 to fund it.
This money would come from the $25,000 in an economic development
Though Board Chairman Emily Davenport said the program is worth
looking into, she feels it is too soon. Since the board recently
voted against giving the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
the full $5,000 donation they usually give, Davenport is not ready
to vote for expending $5,000 for this program.
While agreeing that the program sounds great, committee member
Annette Welch said she is not ready to spend the money until the
program is ready to get off the ground.
Landers said he realizes anything to do with the jail has never been
popular. Bringing down recidivism rates sounds good, but no one has
put a lot of effort into it. Landers plans to move forward with this
program because the community is hurting. The number of individuals
housed at the safety complex is high.
This program is the first initiative Hepler has seen to help people
while they are in jail. Hepler said the county spends a great deal
of money being reactive. He would like to see the pilot program
Since funding the program is far less of an investment than
processing repeat offenders, committee member David Blankenship said
he agrees with Landers we need to attempt something. He would rather
spend money on something like this program than on continually
processing criminal activities. Blankenship wants to give the
sheriff what is needed to attack the problem.
Committee member Keenan Leesman asked if other counties have had
similar programs and what their success rates are.
Landers said other counties offer similar programs plus addiction
counseling and pastoral counseling. These types of counseling are
the norm now and Landers said the Safety Complex has offered them in
However, Landers said offering the counseling safely and securely
with staffing is hard to do in a facility like the county has. He
wants to do what is right and trying to keep people from reoffending
by classes through the program with CAPCIL seems like a good idea.
Since the program is intended to prevent repeat offenders, committee
member Scott Schaffenacker asked how many inmates are repeat
Of the 35 to 40 inmates in the Safety Complex on a daily basis,
Landers said over 90 percent are repeat offenders. The average stay
is about five months.
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Their stories are often the same. Many come from broken homes or from alcohol
and drug abuse and these are struggles the inmates deal with. Though these
struggles do not excuse what they did, Landers said their care and custody is
In the population that is at the Safety Complex now, Boyd thinks between 95 and
98 percent are repeat offenders. With the initiative going on with the bail
reform act, Boyd said individuals are likely to have longer stays as they wait
for court dates. These individuals will be arrested for more serious crimes and
their offenses will go to trial.
When these individuals are there for a long time and the jail does not provide
them anything, Boyd said it will set up the county for repeat offenders. Major
issues in the jail are also more likely because idle hands cause problems. This
program would give inmates an opportunity to further educate themselves. Boyd
said he hopes it leads to the avenue where they start talking to their families
and get them involved. Bringing in the whole family unit will help them see the
opportunities presented to both them and their families.
Boyd has 30 years of experience after working at the Department of Corrections.
Landers said Boyd has the knowledge and skill set that is helpful to this
facility. Being able to bring what is offered at the state level to assist the
population at the county facility is something Landers feels is needed.
The facility was designed in the mid-1970s and Landers said it was for a
population and criminal justice mindset that is not what it is today. At the
county facility, an offender is placed with four or five other inmates in an
enclosed environment without any access to an exercise period or movement
outside. He would like board members to see what the facility looks like.
Landers said he is trying to bring the facility into the 21st Century.
Leesman asked about putting metrics or value around the program. He said that
would give people more grounds to support it.
CAPCIL is an anti-poverty organization and not necessarily an anti-crime
organization, so Rumler-Gomez said their model revolves more around the
reduction of poverty.
When Rumler-Gomez first met with Sheriff Landers and Mr. Boyd, she started
looking at ‘on the record’ reports. During a one month period, Rumler Gomez said
67 percent of those arrested had been part of CAPCIL programs at some point.
Rumler Gomez said the Safety Complex’s population is in large part the same as
The CAPCIL programs reduce poverty levels by 13 percent. Rumler-Gomez said
CAPCIL has participants do a self-sufficiency matrix at the beginning and end of
the program that looks at domains like nutrition, mental health, and education.
The programs help people increase family stability by a few points. Most gain a
better sense of self, rework triggers, and change environments. Many complete
the program and become more successful.
When people come out of jail, Rumler-Gomez said there is a grocery coop where
they can volunteer for two hours a week and get $85 worth of groceries. They can
also volunteer at a thrift store and get clothing for themselves and their
children. CAPCIL has energy assistance programs, early childhood education and
free childcare that help people through the transition back into the real world.
Rumler-Gomez said many of these inmates want to make a change. She believes that
combination along with having the time, the resources and people who care enough
to invest in this type of program is a win-win.
One of the things CAPCIL is trying to do with those who have arrest records is
pair them with Heartland Community College. Rumler-Gomez said she had just
talked to Kristy Powell, site supervisor at HCC’s Lincoln Center, about
certification programs. There are also entrepreneurial programs that can help
them venture out.
If the county could offer any funding assistance, Landers said it would be
Rates of depression are increasing out in the world and our country and Landers
said it happens tenfold in the facility. When people are put in a facility where
they are just on top of each other and have everything going on in their lives,
Landers said it causes them to lash out. Landers' believes this program could
pay dividends tenfold.
The motion for $5,000 of economic development funds for the program would be
brought forward at the board workshop on Thursday, January 14.
To allow the full board to hear about the program, Hepler asked that Rumler-Gomez
and Boyd do a presentation at the board workshop.