Live Free Illinois' Decarceration Fellowship

The Decarceration Fellowship, developed by Live Free Illinois (LFI), is a new and innovative approach to reentry that aims to complement and amplify traditional reentry support with a leadership fellowship that is anchored in community organizing and movement building.

The Fellowship recruits incarcerated people before they come home, providing them with leadership development and reentry support programming in the three months prior to reentry. About 30 Fellows will be enrolled in a robust leadership training curriculum that focuses on providing Fellows with concrete skills in community organizing and criminal justice policy, as well as a stipend.

As the research and evaluation partner to LFI, CORNERS has developed a research framework that includes two key components:

  1. A process evaluation assessing how the Fellowship is implemented.
  2. An impact evaluation assessing its impact on both individual Fellows and on policy outcomes more broadly.

Through observations of program activities and interviews with key stakeholders – including Fellows themselves– this research seeks to answer questions related to program development, civic engagement, social connectedness, access to meaningful employment, and basic need assistance. The research also includes systematic review of public policy outcomes, as well as measures of Fellows’ overall well-being and networks of support.

This evaluation partnership began in 2022 as part of the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Fellowship through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

To learn more about this project, please contact:
Katie Pelech
Research Project Manager
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The Center for Neighborhood Engaged Research & Science (CORNERS) is housed at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. We develop transformative research projects with community and civic partners aimed at improving health and safety for more equitable neighborhoods.
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