Some people who are convicted in Cook County end up serving sentences at the Cook County Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center. Whether your loved one has been charged with DUI, is facing weapons charges in Chicago, or just about anything else, he may be one of the thousands sentenced to serve a year at the VRIC.

Until 2012, the VRIC program was known as Boot Camp. It includes a strict 180-day residential program that’s based on discipline, counseling, educational skills and, when necessary, alcohol and substance abuse treatment. The remaining 240 days of the yearlong sentence is a non-resident program that requires daily interaction with a case manager.

So what does it mean if your loved one has been sentenced to the VRIC “boot camp” program for one year?

A Day at the Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center

Cook County’s Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center, or VRIC, follows an extremely rigid, military-style schedule.

Inmates wake up at 5:30 a.m. and are ushered out to physical training, where they’ll exercise until 7 a.m. At 7:30, it’s time for breakfast, and then work starts.

Drill instructors are in charge of the inmates throughout the day, and at 3:30 p.m., the inmates return to their dormitories. Religious programs and community meetings take place before dinner, and then evening programs, including substance abuse counseling and treatment are handled before bed.

Other Parts of VRIC Programs

As soon as a new inmate arrives at the VRIC, he takes a basic achievement test that measures his abilities in math and reading. From there, he’s assigned to an educational track, where he can take literacy courses, English as a second language and basic computer skills classes.

Release from the VRIC: The Remaining 240 Days

During the second phase of a VRIC sentence, which is 240 days long, the former inmate must keep in daily contact with a case manager. Everyone in the post-release phase is subject to random drug testing, and if a positive drug test comes back, they’ll be referred to inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Talking to a Lawyer about the VRIC

In some cases, a Chicago criminal defense lawyer can ask the judge to sentence a guilty party to the “boot camp.” If your loved one is sentenced to the VRIC, know that thousands of inmates have completed the 1-year program, and many have been completely successful with their rehabilitation efforts.

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