ATCs were secure residential facilities in a community designed to help state prisoners preparing for release learn how to secure a job through job training and employment support.
ATCs allowed state prisoners to serve a portion of their prison term living and working in the community. When first placed in an ATC, prisoners received counseling and participated in 35 hours a week of individualized education, public service, vocational training, and employment programming. After complying with ATC rules (for example, returning to the center at scheduled times) and the 35 hour a week participation requirements for 23 days, participants could seek employment in the community with support from the ATC. ATCs could introduce prisoners to employers associated with the center, or prisoners could find a job by themselves using public resources. When they obtained a job, prisoners were only allowed to commute from the center to their workplace and had to return to the center at a scheduled time. Until release, the state withheld 20 percent of the participant's after-tax earnings. Participants were removed from the ATC and sent back to prison if they violated any major rule. Eligible participants for ACTs were men who were not Class X felons or sex offenders and who had no documented involvement in organized crime activities or in large-scale narcotics trafficking. Men were eligible only if they were coming from minimum-security prisons and had at least two months remaining in their prison term when they applied for placement. ATCs were implemented in residential areas throughout Illinois.