B. Diane Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer, Safer Foundation
Morning Keynote Speaker, Thursday, September 12th
Diane Williams was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Safer Foundation in February 1996. Safer Foundation is one of the nation's largest not-for-profit providers of employment placement and job readiness training exclusively targeting people with criminal records. Other educational and social services are provided in support of its employment programs. Under her leadership Safer Foundation has incorporated the "What Works" principles adopting evidence-based program designs and evaluations. Under contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections, Safer manages two large adult transition centers totaling close to 600 beds. University research acknowledges the success of these programs through low recidivism rates—Safer's clients who achieved 30 days of employment boast a 32.3 percentage point differential when compared with most recent Illinois State prison releases. In 2008, Safer was the recipient of the International Corrections and Prison Association's Offender Management/Treatment and Reintegration Award. In 2011, Ms. Williams was the recipient of President Obama's "Champion of Change" award.
Ms. Williams has an undergraduate degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. She has over 20 years experience working with the criminal justice population and has served on the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board and in consulting roles for the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Council of State Governments Reentry Initiative and the National Treatment Plan's Criminal Justice Work Group/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. She has served on the Governor's Statewide Task Force on Reentry and is a member of the Governor's Commission on Human Services, the Commission on the Elimination of Poverty and the Illinois Workforce Investment Board.
Mansfield Frazier, Executive Director, Neighborhood Solutions, Inc.
Mansfield Frazier is a writer, editor and publisher whose home is in the Cleveland, OH neighborhood of Hough, which he shares with his wife Brenda and their two dogs, Ginger and Zeda. His writings — which focus on social justice and prison issues —appear weekly on CoolClevleand.com, and the Cleveland Leader. Additionally, he is a regular contributor to the national online publication Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
A 27-year career counterfeiter of credit cards, he wrote From Behind the Wall, which was released in 1995, the same year he exited prison for the fifth and final time. He has served on numerous reentry committees on the local, statewide and national levels, and in 2007 he and Brenda (who holds a masters degree in social work) launched Reentry Advocate, a magazine that went to prisons, halfway houses, libraries and other institutions around the country until 2012.
In 2010, the non-profit they started, Neighborhood Solutions, Inc., built The Vineyards of Château of Hough, (utilizing men from a nearby halfway house to construct and maintain the venture) on a three-quarter acre site in their inner-city community. Currently they are making plans to add a BioCellar and eventually a winery adjacent to the grapevines that will create work and ownership opportunities for returning citizens and neighborhood residents.