Getting Started with Safer

Safer Foundation helps individuals with criminal records find jobs and turn their lives around.

Safer clients celebrate the beginning of a project.

We believe that keeping a job is the best way to avoid recidivism, and all of our programs are aimed at that goal. We work only with people with criminal records -- so we understand the problems they face in finding and keeping a job. If you are interested in enrolling in the Safer Foundation program, the following questions and answers should help you know everything you need to get started.

How can Safer Foundation help me?

Safer helps prepare clients for employment and the job search. We also work with companies that hire people with criminal records. If you are ready to work, we will send you on a job interview. If you have problems that make it difficult for you to work, we help you solve those problems first. And if you are between 16 and 21 years, we can help you continue your education so you can find a better job.

Does Safer work with all people with criminal records?

Safer Foundation serves men and women aged 16 and up who live in Illinois and the Quad Cities region of Iowa. We accept anyone with a record, whether they have served time in prison or received probation. Even if you have been out for more than a decade and held a job since then, Safer’s doors are still open if you need assistance.

What types of educational services do you provide younger people with criminal records?

For youth 16 to 21 interested in furthering their education, Safer offers a program that helps them study for and take the GED exam. Youth also learn basic skills necessary for the workplace and have the option to enroll in further education and/or training. For those 18 years and over who are ready for the job search, Safer provides job leads and other support services..

What if I have never held a job for very long before?

That’s all right. If you are ready to work and willing to go through the necessary steps, Safer Foundation can help you. But you do have to be realistic -- it may take some time and your first job may not be your dream job. That initial work experience is a good place to start and move on from once you prove you are serious about working.

What do you mean by “ready to work"?

If you are going to keep a job, you have to have your life in some kind of order, like having a place to live and being drug free for at least 30 days.

How does Safer know if I am “ready to work"?

When you come to Safer Foundation, you’ll enter an orientation session where you will learn more about what Safer can do for you. During this session, you will complete a survey that will determine your interests, experience, and whether or not you have any substantial barriers to employment (for example, a mandate for drug abuse counseling). After that, you will meet one-on-one with a Safer intake counselor. You’ll talk about why you were in prison, how prison affected you, what type of work you have done, housing, any medical problems, substance abuse -- everything. You must be completely honest if Safer is going to help you. By the end of the conversation, the counselor and you will both know what the next step is for you -- whether it is going for your GED, finding a job or solving some of the other issues you have so you can then move forward with your life.

What “other issues”issues can Safer help me address?

It can be anything. For some people, it may be providing training on how to fill out a job application and prepare for an interview. For others it may be helping them find a place to live, get medical care or get help with a drug or alcohol problem.

How do you help me solve these issues?

You will be assigned a case manager who will work with you as your coach. This coach gets to know you well enough so he or she can help you understand what may be preventing you from turning your life around. Your coach stays with you for two years and when necessary, introduces you to other people who can help you when Safer cannot. It is important to understand that the coach does not solve your problems -- he or she helps you take responsibility for solving your own problems.

Why do I have to be drug free for 30 days to get a job?

First, you can’t do a good job on drugs. Second, employers require a drug test of everyone -- not just an individual with a criminal record. They won’t hire you if you are on drugs -- any drugs, even marijuana. If you lie about using drugs to Safer Foundation, we won’t help you find a job for one year.

Does Safer have a drug program too?

Safer Foundation works with agencies that have drug programs. We often refer individuals with records to other agencies that specialize in certain services. When you finish one of these programs and are ready to work, you can return to Safer Foundation for help in finding a job.

How much does it cost to use Safer Foundation services?

There is no charge to the client for using our services. Safer raises the money to pay for these programs. In fact, Safer Foundation will sometimes be able to help clients with carfare or transit passes to get to Safer Foundation for meetings or to job interviews and help clients find appropriate clothing, if necessary.

Where can I get more information about the programs and services of the Safer Foundation?

Please go to Services for a fuller description of the programs and services that the Safer Foundation offers.

  • Watch and Listen
    • Juvenile offenders succeed through Safer Foundation: DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Teenagers… MORE >

    • PBS NewsHour 12/25/2014 - Ban the Box : Many employers require job applicants to disclose… MORE >

    • Bernie and Gus: Their Vision: From a 2014 interview with Safer co-founders Raymond “Bernie”Curran and Gus Wilhelmy.… MORE >

  • Headlines
    • Adult & Juvenile Expungement Summit: June 10, 2017… MORE >

    • Cook County Juvenile Justice System Leaders Pledge Support for Rehabilitation Over Incarceration: Safer Foundation CEO… MORE >

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  • Reentry Resources
    • Reentry and Criminal Justice ResourcesMORE >

    • Safer Foundation DocumentsMORE >

    • Safer Foundation Fact SheetsMORE >

  • Public Policy
    • The Statistics: Below are data, gathered from independent sources, showing a breakdown of individuals affected by… MORE >

    • Council of Advisors to Reduce Recidivism through Employment (CARRE): In order to make… MORE >

  • Success Stories
    • Nadeja Beasley: Nadeja Beasley had 10 long years to think about some costly choices she… MORE >

    • Jay Borchert: Jay Borchert can proudly say he’s been clean for ten years. Earlier in… MORE >

    • Juan Cruz: Juan Cruz once lived the life of a gangbanger on the streets of Chicago. The… MORE >

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