Examines the state of current prisoner reentry programs and identifies the need for new strategies that promote lower recidivism and successful reentry.
“More than 1.5 million people are incarcerated in prisons in the United States, and about 700,000 are released each year. Former prisoners faced considerable obstacles to successfully reintegrating into their communities, and many returned to prison. In response to surging corrections costs and the harmful effects of large-scale incarceration on families and communities, many state and federal agencies had mounted ambitious prisoner reentry initiatives” (p.1). MDRC outlined new strategies for reentry programs as well as the increased federal support aimed at identifying and implementing successful reentr. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “There is a growing consensus that reentry strategies should build on a framework known as Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR). The RNR approach helps corrections agencies target resources to those offenders who are at higher risk of recidivism and provide individualized services to address behaviors and circumstances associated with crime. These services often include forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that address values and thinking patterns that are seen as favorable to crime” (p.2). • “Other research…focus[es] on programs that seek to improve family relationships, provide drug treatment, or other services. Some studies look specifically at the practices of supervision agencies (for example, probation or parole). One particularly promising model, called Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), uses…sanctions for noncompliance, such as failed drug tests.” When tested, it achieved very positive results and is being replicated and tested in several other sites by the National Institute of Justice. (p.2) • “A number of federal agencies are simultaneously mounting reentry initiatives focusing on different strategies. For example the U.S. Department of Labor is running two large demonstration projects to improve employment outcomes of the formerly incarcerated. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Justice is planning or currently running projects focused on changing practices within the criminal justice system to improve recidivism outcomes. A Federal Interagency Reentry Council, established by Attorney General Holder in January 2011, consists of 20 federal agencies and meets periodically to address the range of issues facing prisoners returning to communities” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)