U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

An Evaluation of Seven Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration Programs: Impact Findings at 18 Months

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
138 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of an evaluation of seven programs that have received Federal grants to implement the Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration Program, which is designed to reduce recidivism by addressing the challenges faced by adults returning to their communities after incarceration.
In using SCA funds, grantees improved their partnerships with community agencies and strengthened the connection between pre-release and post-release services. All grantees used their SCA funds to provide services after individuals were released from incarceration, and most also improved pre-release services. Services provided included education and training, employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, cognitive behavioral therapy, housing assistance, and supportive services. Some of these services were funded under SCA grants and others provided unfunded referrals to community partners. Given the diversity of approaches used by the grantees, this evaluation study does not provide a test of a single program model. Impact findings from the evaluation show that those assigned to the SCA program were significantly more likely than non-participants in the control group to have received assistance with reentry, and they were more likely to have had an individual case plan. In addition, they were more likely to have received cognitive behavioral therapy, assistance with job hunting, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, and mentoring; however, at the end of 18 months, both SCA participants and control group members were equally likely to report that additional services would have been helpful. Regarding impact on recidivism 18 months after random assignment to the SCA group or the control group, both survey data and administrative data showed that the SCA participants were no less likely than members of the control group to be rearrested, reconvicted, or reincarcerated. Further research is required to determine whether enhanced requirements under subsequent SCA grants were effective in reducing recidivism. Extensive tables and figures, 60 references, and appended methodology instruments and descriptions

Date Published: June 1, 2017