Through Connections, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) provides programs for incarcerated mothers and their families. These services help keep incarcerated women connected to their children and families, and assist recently released women who are returning to their home in the Chicago area.
- Through Visits to Mom, 545 children visited their mothers in prison last year. Free bus transportation is available to Decatur, Dwight and Lincoln Correctional Centers. Volunteer drivers also provide transportation from the Chicago area to Dwight Correctional Center.
- Relatives As Parents Program (RAPP) is a support group for caregivers who accompany children visiting parents at the correctional centers. While children visit their parents, caregivers meet for support. There are additional support groups in Chicago, as well as
- Family Reunification begins when both the incarcerated mother and the family commit to creating a plan for life on the “outside.” Through individual meetings and a Family Group Conference prior to release, the family develops a contract for the future. Connections staff supports the family through this process and works with them for a year after mom comes home.
- Reentry Services are provided to women who have left prison and have recently returned to the Chicago area. Connections provides individual support, anger management and counseling sessions for women returning home. The Connections program also links formerly incarcerated women to community resources, such as food pantries, job-training programs and substance abuse treatment services.