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Raqueal Pullums: Reentry Programs With Communal Inclusion


Season 6 of The Justice Beat Talk Show premiered this past Saturday, February 4, with special guest Raqueal Pullums, the program manager for READI for Reentry.


READI, Rapid Employment And Development Initiative, was launched in 2017 in response to increased violence in Chicago. There are currently two branches READI Chicago and READI for Reentry.


Pullums shared how the programs impact individuals.

READI Chicago is a 12-month program offering cognitive behavioral interventions, case management, and transitional jobs. They work with men at the highest risk of involvement with gun violence. They target the specific neighborhoods in Chicago of Englewood, North Lawndale, Austin, and West Garfield. These neighborhoods produce the majority of the gun violence in Chicago.

  • 45 times more likely than the average Chicago to experience violence

  • 98% have been arrested

  • 80% have been victims of violence

  • 83% have family members that have been victims of violence

We work toward safer communities by addressing trauma and increasing opportunity among men most likely to experience gun violence.

READI for Reentry launched in 2021. It involves many of the same components of READI Chicago, put targets individuals engaged with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). The program is currently in two prisons Danville and Statesville Correctional Centers. READI for Reentry is also a 12-month program, with the first six months taking place while the individual is still incarcerated and the remaining six months after release. READI for Reentry is intentional about addressing typical barriers after release, including but not limited to transportation home, acquiring state ID, and family support in preparation for a returning relative.


Pullums detailed how potential participants are identified. Participants are referred by community members, parole officers, University of Chicago Crime Lab. Once referrals are received outreach workers strive to locate and to engage with potential participants. READI for Reentry receives referrals from IDOC.

The READI—or Rapid Employment and Development Initiative—model is informed by evidence that combining cognitive behavioral interventions (CBI) with paid transitional jobs can help reduce violence.

Pullums detailed how potential participants are identified. Participants are referred by community members, parole officers, University of Chicago Crime Lab. Once referrals are received, outreach workers strive to locate and engage with potential participants. READI for Reentry receives referrals from IDOC.


READI for Chicago Results

  • 871 participants attached to transitional employment

  • $36 million was invested into the targeted communities

  • $9 million directly paid to participants through wages and stipend

  • 79% fewer shootings and homicides within the population

Ways to Support

Mentoring - Ideal mentor is male with time to provide a listening ear, positive engagement, wisdom, and encouragement.

Training - Companies or individuals who provide skill training or job opportunities

Advocacy - Share the program with community leaders

Funding - Donate or connect the organization to grant funding


We thank Raqueal Pullums for her time and the great interview. Here's the link to watch the episode. This was just a taste of season 6; more great guests to come. Remember to join us live for our next episode Saturday, February 11, at 10:00 am CST.

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