School News

IPSSJ Executive Director Elena Quintana, Ph.D.
IPSSJ Partners with Racine on U.S. Justice Grant-Funded Project to Reduce Recidivism

The Adler School of Professional Psychology’s Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) will collaborate with the city of Racine, Wis., and Racine Vocational Ministry as part of a U.S. Department of Justice grant-funded project to expand and evaluate effectiveness of the ministry’s prison-to-community re-entry program.

Racine has a high percentage of repeat offenders who have few opportunities for successful re-entry into the community. Yet, recidivism costs Racine County—with limited budget for reentry services, such as alcohol and drug abuse treatment, mental health and employment services—millions of dollars in housing and supervision of recently released offenders.

Racine Vocational Ministry (RVM) helps re-entrants retain jobs through mentoring and follow up, and address negative life issues that impede their careers. Through the $50,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant—one of only 15 awarded in the country—the city of Racine will develop a five-year strategic plan for re-entry support and services through RVM to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.

The Adler School’s IPSSJ will guide the year-long strategic planning process and evaluate its effectiveness in strengthening re-entry support services and reducing recidivism in Racine.

“To reduce recidivism, it’s critical that all providers and parties, public and private, communicate and collaborate on research into services that are missing and, ultimately, maximize limited resources to provide services that work,” said IPSSJ Executive Director Elena Quintana, Ph.D.

“Our goal is to build a best practice model of collaborative re-entry programming that can be replicated throughout the nation.”

Racine Vocational Ministries’ partnership with the Adler School developed following the work of a Racine journalist and teacher Elizabeth Oplatka. A Chicago native, Oplatka worked with RVM last year as part of her Community Service Practicum at the Adler School, where she is completing a master’s degree in counseling and organizational psychology and remains working with IPSSJ and Racine on the re-entry project.

Through Oplatka’s work, IPSSJ Assistant Director Dan Cooper said, the institute was asked to help the local organizations build capacity with measureable effectiveness. “Our role with this grant is a reflection of our work ethic and our expertise in re-entry issues, program evaluation and coalition planning,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Justice provided funding for this project through the Second Chance Act Adult Offender Re-entry Program for Planning and Demonstration Projects. The program supports efforts to provide services and programs that help facilitate the successful reintegration of offenders as they return to their communities.

About the Adler School's Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice

The Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) promotes social justice and public safety by increasing civic engagement and community control of safety issues. Its socially responsible research, education, and community engagement work to strengthen communities, systems, and the practices of institutions responsible for education and rehabilitation. IPSSJ project challenge the idea that public safety requires social repression, and promote socially just responses to social ills that also enhance public safety for all.

About the Adler School of Professional Psychology

The Adler School of Professional Psychology has provided quality education through a Scholar/Practitioner model for more than 50 years. The School’s mission is to train socially responsible graduates who continue the visionary work of Alfred Adler throughout the world. The Adler School offers 13 graduate-level programs enrolling more than 1,000 students at its campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia, and through Adler Online.


Kim McCullough
Director of Communications
(312) 662-4124 or via email