Dustin Cantrell

Director of Research & Quality for the WestCare Central Region

With an extensive background in corrections work, Dr. Cantrell ensures that WestCare’s clients are receiving the highest quality services. As a recognized expert in his field, he designs and administers quality of service tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the WestCare programs for incarcerated and community-based populations. Using these results, Dr. Cantrell leads performance improvement activities for all programs in the WestCare Central Region. Dr. Cantrell collaborates with stakeholders on research, evaluation and performance improvement; assists with County, State and Federal grant submissions and provides supervision for the research assistant staff.

In Illinois, Dr. Cantrell participates in the Cook County Justice and Mental Health Collaborative. He created the County Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention manual for use in Cook County Jail and co-facilitated Mindfulness group sessions in the facility. He actively participates in research and policy development at the nexus of mental health, substance abuse treatment and criminal justice for local and national organizations.

  • PhD Education Leadership and Policy Studies, Indiana University
  • MS Ed International and Comparative Education, Indiana University
  • BS and MA Anthropology, Ball State University
  • 2017 ICJIA Publications by Dustin Cantrell, PhD:
    • An Examination of Traumatic Experiences and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among a Sample of Illinois Prisoners
    • Study of Self-Reported Prescription Drug Use Among a Sample of Illinois Prisoners
    • Study of self-reported synthetic drug users among a sample of Illinois prisoners
    • Previously, adjunct faculty at Chicago State University, Indiana University, Purdue University and Ball State University

Carlos Rodriguez

Director of Outreach

In 2018, the team at WestCare Illinois (WCIL) celebrated the arrival of Carlos Rodriguez, a skilled professional with more than 15-years of experience bringing critically-needed services to all age groups in English and Spanish. Mr. Rodriguez excels in finding methods to provide client services within the boundaries placed by administrative controls. He works tirelessly to bring community awareness of the life-changing successes that can be realized when a client joins WCIL in partnership for the future.

Working within all the high-risk populations: child welfare, criminal justice and substance abuse, has given Mr. Rodriguez a depth of knowledge and respect for the challenges facing his fellow humans. He is predictably successful as Director of Outreach and a welcome addition to our Youth Mentoring programs: Restoring Individuals through Supportive Environments (RISE) and Chicagobility.

  • BA Political Science, University of New Mexico
  • Illinois Certification: Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC), with Adolescent Treatment Endorsement
  • Former Board member:
    • Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Initiative
    • Cathedral Shelter
    • Harper College, Department of Human Services

Sixto Garcia

Program Director Modified Therapeutic Community Program at Crossroads Adult Transition Center (ATC)

Sixto Garcia has served clients at WestCare Illinois (WCIL) for close to 10 years. For most of those years, Mr. Garcia worked with clients in corrections facilities, including the WCIL Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC) Program used at IMPACT in the Cook County Jail. During his early years at WCIL, he was instrumental in opening 4 start-up programs, including the WCIL behavioral health counseling programs for the Safer Foundation at Crossroads Adult Transition Center (ATC) in 2013.

So, in 2018 it was with a sense of homecoming and renewed energy that Mr. Garcia returned as WCIL’s Program Director for the WCIL MTC Program in Crossroads ATC. In this familiar setting, his education, interpersonal skills and counseling experience are the backbone of the MTC treatment model which may have up to 50 clients enrolled in counseling at any one time. Mr. Garcia draws on his specialized training in anger management and relapse prevention to guide staff as they prepare clients for community re-entry.

  • BA Sociology, Northern Illinois University
  • Illinois Certifications: Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • WestCare Leadership Academy Graduate
  • Bi-lingual, services can be provided in English and Spanish

Talisa Paul

Program Director Modified Therapeutic Community at Sheridan CC

Ms. Talisa Paul started her career with WestCare shortly after graduating from the MSW program at Aurora University. Beginning as a Substance Abuse Counselor in 2014, becoming a supervisor in 2016, an Assistant Director in 2018 and promoted to Program Director in 2019. As Program Director, Ms. Paul provides clinical and administrative leadership and supervision to the program. Ms. Paul entered the field with a passion to educate and help others along their journey of asking for help and recovery. When speaking of her current position and responsibilities she states, “This program has brought insight, humility & the ability to work beyond the framework of treatment. Each day is something new, each client has a different story and each staff member brings different skills, life experience and expertise. The clients we serve and the professional teams we build inspires us to keep moving forward to build a stronger program. Working with clients and new staff is truly great. Whether it be helping clients in treatment or staff development, I can’t imagine another role being as rewarding.”

Melissa Valentine

Program Coordinator Modified Therapeutic Community Programs at Du Quoin CC and Dixon Springs CC

Being at two places at once would be easy, WestCare Illinois’ (WCIL) Program Coordinator Melissa Valentine is in three! WCIL operates one Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC) Program in the Bootcamp at the Du Quoin Correctional Center with 300 treatment beds for men. In the Dixon Springs Correctional Center, WCIL operates one MTC Program with two distinct sections: one with 234 beds for men and one with 50 for women.

Ms. Valentine coordinates all substance use disorder (SUD) treatment activities within both Correctional Centers’ Treatment Programs. She mentors and provides training to non-certified staff, develops and implements policies for the Programs, performs fidelity checks and functions as the communication liaison between WCIL and the Illinois Department of Corrections.

  • Master of Education in Counseling & Human Development, Lindsey Wilson College
  • BS Psychology and Counseling, Mid-Continent University
  • Illinois Certification: Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)

Jodie Barnett

Clinical Supervisor Modified Therapeutic Community Program at Lincoln CC

With almost 20 years’ counseling, assessment (ASAM standards) and DUI evaluation experience, Jodie Barnett knows her way around behavioral health for substance use disorders (SUD), which is why she was the perfect fit to lead the staff at the WCIL Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC) Program at Lincoln Correctional Center. Ms. Barnet has done it all, from group and individual counseling, to guiding clients while they set goals and objectives for their treatment, to client education for continuing their plan after program discharge.

As the Clinical Supervisor at the MTC Program at Lincoln CC, Ms. Barnett leverages these well-developed skills to guide and mentor her staff in the delivery of SUD treatment services to a daily census of up to 50 male clients in a challenging environment.

  • BA Social Criminal Justice Services, University of Illinois
  • AAS Criminology, Illinois Central College
  • Illinois Certification: Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • DUI evaluator

Alex Venable

Director Modified Therapeutic Community Program at Logan CC

In 2014, Alex Venable was already providing individual and group counseling to women incarcerated at the Logan Correctional Center. When WestCare Illinois (WCIL) began its Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment Program at Logan CC in 2015, WCIL asked him to join our team of professionals. WCIL acknowledges the counseling acumen and extensive knowledge of the unique issues facing the Logan CC client base of Mr. Venable. He is an exemplary leader as Director of our Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC) Program at Logan CC, Women of Dignity.

Mr. Venable continues to deliver on his career goal to facilitate hope and change in a counseling setting. He is committed to providing trauma-informed services at Logan CC and developing a trauma-informed community. He extends the reach of his academic and professional growth by training initiatives on the consideration of trauma and effective motivational techniques for improved counseling outcomes.

  • MA Professional Counseling, McKendree University
  • BA Psychology, Benedictine University
  • Illinois Certification: Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)

Cathyrn Smith

Clinical Supervisor Dual Diagnosis Program at Logan CC

Cathryn Smith received a BS in Psychology with a minor in music from Bradley University and an MS in General Psychology from Grand Canyon University. She supervises staff and provides client group and individual therapy that is trauma-informed. Her focus is on trauma recovery as it relates to both mental health and substance use disorders. Ms. Smith is CADC certified.

  • MS General Psychology, Grand Canyon University
  • BS Psychology, Bradley University
  • Illinois Certification: Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)

Hannah Herrin

Program Manager SUD Treatment Program at the Illinois Youth Center in Harrisburg

The young men at the Illinois Youth Center (IYC) in Harrisburg, know our Hannah Herrin. For more than five years, she has delivered the full dimension of services needed for optimal outcomes in their complicated lives. Responding to the juvenile court system as-well-as counselling, addiction and relapse treatment and aftercare of released youth, makes Ms. Herrin the go to person at the IYC.

As the Program Manager for the WestCare Illinois (WCIL) SUD Treatment Program at the IYC Harrisburg, Ms. Herrin’s responsibilities extend into human resources development, youth placement into the most effective programs and housing units, and ensuring opportunities for continuing care are available and encouraged.

  • Masters in Social Work, Capella University
  • BS Social Work, Southern Illinois University
  • Illinois Certifications:
    • Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorder Professional (CODP1)
    • Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • GAIN-I Site Interviewer: Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Coordinating Center