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Applying Problem Solving Approaches to Issues of Inmate Re-Entry: The Indianapolis Pilot Project, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2003
66 pages
This report describes the implementation and evaluation of the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership (IVRP), which used a problem-solving approach to reduce recidivism among former inmates.
The project began with an analysis of the re-entry population, which included a profile of prison releasees during 2000, a survival analysis of a sample of inmates, and interviews and focus groups with recently released inmates and service providers who work with former inmates. The problem analysis found that 40 percent of former inmates were arrested within 1 year of release. Younger inmates and those with more extensive criminal histories were at greatest risk for recidivism, as were African-American inmates. Barriers to successful re-entry identified by both former inmates and service providers were housing, substance abuse, negative peer influences, and anxiety regarding not "making it." Based on these findings, the IVRP implemented a pilot project that consisted of having recently released inmates attend a neighborhood-based group meeting convened by criminal justice officials and involving community representatives and service providers. The meetings were designed to combine deterrence and social support (linkage to services). In the evaluation, the treatment group consisted of 93 former inmates who attended 1 of 5 meetings. The comparison group was composed of 107 former inmates released at the same time as the treatment group but in a different neighborhood. The meetings were rotated geographically throughout the city, so both treatment and comparison groups were drawn from the three targeted areas of the city. Approximately 40 percent of both treatment and control groups were rearrested during the follow-up period (10-24 months). The treatment group survived longer (an average of 172 days) than did the comparison group (120 days) before being rearrested; however, this difference was not statistically significant in the survival analysis. Thus, there is a possibility that the difference was produced by chance. A program that begins in prison, attempts to build in family or other social supports, and that includes strategies for follow-up beyond the initial meeting with offenders may prove more successful than the Indianapolis pilot project. 23 tables and 17 references

Date Published: February 1, 2003