Local Programs Ensure Ex-Offenders Can Look Forward to Brighter Future

By Torene Harvin

A Medill Newsmakers Report

In this edition of Medill Newsmakers, three guests shared what they are doing to keep young men and women out of prison and on a path to success.


Daniel Geiter, Ph.D., president of Ward College, discussed his life from being a former offender to establishing a college.

Tony Lowery, of Safer Foundation, shared how he helps motivate young African Americans in the Englewood and Austin neighborhoods.

“We need to reform the way ex-offender are able to reintegrate into society, after prison and before. There needs to be comprehensive sentencing reform, as well,” said Austin Berg,Illinois Policy Institute, public policy writer.

0:00 — Introduction- Statistics on ex-offenders in Illinois.

0:59 — The story of an ex-offender who obtained four college degrees.

4:55 —Daniel Geiter, Ph.D. joined us via Skype. Currently, he discussed the final stages of opening Ward College.

12:09 — Interview in studio with Tony Lowery, Director of policy and advocacy at Safer Foundation, opens up about his former life, working with President Barack Obama(before he was elected in office) and much more.

20:57 —Austin Berg discussed the story of a woman he has worked with to get a law changed for her to become a registered nurse.

Photo at Top: Outside Cook County department of Corrections prison. (Torene Harvin/Medill)