Jail Brakers is a ministry of Tree of Life Social Justice and provides support to families affected by incarceration.

Our monthly support group meets the 1st Thursday of every month from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at The Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock. 225 W Calhoun, Woodstock, IL 60098.

Our mission is to provide support to families who struggle with the stigma of incarceration and the  impact that it has on them. Jail Brakers provides opportunities that give families a voice and a place to be listened to with respect and compassion. We foster the development of community resources that more  effectively meet their needs and seek to raise awareness about their concerns while fostering hope. Together we will address the stigma that perpetuates the fear, shame and isolation surrounding incarceration.

We provide gas cards for families who wish to maintain strong family connections during their loved one’s incarceration. Often, family members are sent anywhere from 1.5hrs to 7 hours away from home. This imposes a significant financial barrier in addition to the emotional and physical challenges faced when visiting loved ones. Research informs us that being able to maintain positive support increases the likelihood of a successful reentry process, helpful in reducing recidivism- the rate at which people are re incarcerated.

Contact James Carpenter,  (815) 322-3223    jailbrakersjames@gmail.com

Cheryl Niemo is the Founder and Past Director of Jail Brakers ministry. Due to her personal experience with the incarceration of a family member and her experience in the social work field, Ms. Niemo founded Jail Brakers in 2009  to address the stigma related to incarceration and to providing meaningful resources to families and individuals affected by incarceration as a means to elevate family identity and improve outcomes. James Carpenter is the current director of Jail Brakers and is committed to its mission.

Carpenter is a Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) and has worked in the Behavioral Health field for over a decade.  He has served on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Court Association of Illinois and the Illinois Association of Problem Solving Courts and believes that individuals should be able to avoid the revolving door of the Criminal Justice System through involvement with the strict probationary option offered by Problem Solving Courts and improve their lives after serving their time by having a chance to have their records sealed or expunged and has been discussing this possible option with Prairie State Legal Services.

Our logo was created by families of our first pilot group who stated they wanted a support that would help break the cycle and reduce their suffering. This is what they had envisioned in their hearts and minds.

To support this work, we hold several fundraisers each year including our annual Turkey Bingo, participation in the Human Race, and more.

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