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National Institute of Justice's Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts: Staff and Client Perspectives on Reentry Courts from Year 2

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2014
26 pages
This report presents findings from the second year of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts (NESCAARC) and includes a process evaluation, impact evaluation, and cost-effectiveness study of eight adult reentry courts funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
Reentry courts are specialized courts that are designed to reduce recidivism and improve public safety through the use of judicial oversight, graduated sanctions, and positive reinforcement, in supporting prisoner reintegration and positive behavior. These courts are intended to address the critical needs of returning prisonersparticularly in the period immediately following releasethrough a combination of judicial oversight and a collaborative case management process. The reentry courts included in the NESCAARC emphasize post-release service delivery, provide a variety of services relevant to the needs of the target population, use a case management approach to coordinate and monitor services, convene court hearings for the purpose of monitoring participants' progress in the program, conduct drug testing, and use a team approach to decision-making regarding sanctions and incentives. The target populations are highly variable among the NESCAARC courts, with most programs enrolling offenders at multiple stages of the criminal justice process. This report highlights information collected on: organizational partnerships; interagency collaboration and communication; participant attitudes (concerning motivation to enroll, reentry court staff, program decision-making, and recommendations for program improvement); and implementation challenges and solutions. Data sources for the current report included: semi-structured interviews with program staff and representatives from partnering agencies in all eight reentry courts; closed-ended assessments on communication and collaboration completed by reentry court staff and partners in seven reentry courts during the second round of site visits; focus groups conducted during the second round of site visits with 67 participants in seven reentry courts; closed-ended, in-person baseline interviews conducted with 165 reentry court participants in four sites as part of the prospective outcome evaluation study; and structured observations of court proceedings at seven sites and pre-court staff meetings at six sites conducted during the second round of site visits.

Date Published: August 1, 2014