New Lake County sheriff program aims to stop 'revolving door' at jail

  • Lake County jail officials have started a new program to help inmates transition back to life outside of jail.

    Lake County jail officials have started a new program to help inmates transition back to life outside of jail. Doug T. Graham, October 2020

Updated 10/18/2021 6:18 PM

In an attempt to reduce the number of people returning to Lake County jail after their release, officials have begun a new program to help current inmates prepare for life outside of jail.

Inmates who choose to enroll in the new Community Bridge Program will work with a jail staffer in the weeks leading up to their release to plan what comes next. They work on building a resume, looking at jobs, finding community resources, enrolling in health insurance programs and more. And once out of jail, those enrolled in the program check in with jail staff to make sure they are meeting their goals.


Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg said he believes the program has the potential to reduce recidivism in the community.

"We have learned the first 30 days after being released from custody is a very crucial time period for inmates," Idleburg said. "We want inmates to have the tools available to be successful members of society and have purpose when they are released from custody, rather than the jail having a revolving door."

Lake County Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said there are currently 14 inmates set to be released soon who are enrolled in the program.

"We encourage all inmates to participate, but ultimately they have the option," Covelli said.

Covelli said two people have completed the program and one person recently released from jail is still part of the program. Covelli said the program has been successful so far because jail staff is able to build rapport with inmates and connect inmates with community resource providers.

"We will continue listening to the community, hearing from subject matter experts and giving inmates the tools necessary for re-entry into the community," Idleburg said.

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