Policy Factsheet

Prisoner Re-Entry

Reasons for Policy

  • Failure to reintegrate ex-offenders can lead to many negative effects for the individual, families, and communities.2
  • Every year, over half a million inmates gain release from prison, and many of them are ill-prepared to re-enter their communities.2,3

  • Incarceration policies and programs have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities due to disproportionate incarceration of low-income racial/ethnic minorities.3

Community Groups

  • Businesses
  • Community-based Organizations
  • Justice System
  • Law Enforcement
  • Local Alcohol Distributors

Policy Components

  • Vocational training and work release programs
  • Drug rehabilitation while incarcerated
  • Halfway-house programs
  • Pre-release programs

Desired Outcomes

  • Reduced recidivism
  • Improved job placement
  • Improved community cohesion
  • Easier transition into community life
  • Lower rates of drug use and risky sexual behavior

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science. 1

The levels of effectiveness as noted are: 1 = meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design); 2 = consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only; 3 = insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 1: Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

The following summary of achievable results is based on a published review of the scientific evidence.

On average, vocational training and work release programs can achieve:

  • Reduction in recidivism 2
  • Improved job readiness 2

On average, drug rehabilitation while incarcerated and half-way houses can:

  • Ease the transition from prison to the community 2

On average, pre-release programs can achieve:

  • Reduced recidivism 2

Community Examples

Links to Policy Examples

Be sure to check with your state, county, and municipal governments regarding potential existing laws that may impede any new policy development.

References


  1. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.
     

  2. Seiter, RP, Kadela, KR (2003). Prisoner reentry: What works, what does not, and what is promising. Crime Delinquency, 49(3), 360-388.  

  3. Freudenberg, N (2001). Jails, prisons, and the health of urban populations: A review of the impact of the correctional system on community health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 78(2), 214-235.  

  4. Freudenberg, N. (2001). Jails, prisons, and the health of urban populations: A review of the impact of the correctional system on community health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 78(2), 214-235  

  5. Kadela, K.R. & Seiter, R.P. (2003). Prisoner reentry: What works, what does not, and what is promising. Crime Delinquency, 49(3): 360-388  

  6. Biglan, A., Boruch, R.F., Castro, F.G., Flay, B.R., Gottfredson, D., Ji, P., . . . Valentine, J.C. (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3): 151-175