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The National Institute of Justice's Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts: Lessons Learned About Reentry Court Program Implementation and Sustainability

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2018
24 pages
This report presents the final findings for the National Institute of Justice's process evaluation of the implementation of the federal Second Chance Act's (SCA's) reentry courts, which are one of several strategies for facilitating the transition from incarceration to the community.
Reentry courts are specialized courts whose objective is to reduce recidivism and improve public safety through the use of judicial oversight in applying graduated sanctions and incentives for participants to guide their use of support resources needed for a successful transition from incarceration to positive behaviors in the community. This report describes the implementation of reentry court programs at participating sites at the time of their final year of federal funding. It highlights the context in which the programs were operating and key modifications over time. Lessons learned focus on developing organizational partnerships for reentry courts, staffing considerations, selecting and recruiting the target population, designing and implementing program components, and coordinating service delivery for participants. Of the eight reentry courts that originally received federal funding under the SCA, all but one became fully operational. Six sites appeared to have positive prospects for sustaining their programs after grant funding concluded. A key factor that was associated with both implementation success and the likelihood of continued program operations was having built upon an existing program and/or leveraging an infrastructure for problem-solving courts within the jurisdiction. The primary data source for this report was semi-structured interviews with program staff and representatives of partnering agencies in site visits to seven reentry courts. 1 exhibit

Date Published: January 1, 2018