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No Shortcuts to Successful Reentry: The Failings of Project Greenlight

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2006
3 pages
Publication Series
This paper presents the methodology and findings of the evaluation of Project Greenlight, an intensive rehabilitation pilot program that involved 735 New York State prisoners during their final 2 months of incarceration.
The evaluation found that during 1 year after release, participants in the Greenlight program had more new arrests, reincarcerations, and parole revocations than two other groups of inmates, one of which received less intensive prerelease services than the Greenlight group while the other group received no prerelease programming. The group that received no prerelease reentry programming reoffended at the lowest rate compared with the Greenlight group and the group that received less intensive prerelease programming. One explanation for the failure of the Greenlight program is that it delivered a mixture of unproven and poorly designed clinical interventions. Another explanation of its failure is the short duration of the project. Although it was designed to last 3 years, it was terminated after 1 year due to fiscal constraints. Another major problem was a lack of postrelease followup or aftercare beyond standard parole supervision. The 344 Greenlight inmates were transferred to Queensboro Correctional Facility, a minimum-security facility, for their final 60 days of incarceration. They received 8 weeks of day-long reentry training that included cognitive skills training, employment training, housing guidance, drug-abuse prevention training, family counseling, advice on working with parole officers, a release plan, and training in financial and time management. The second group of 278 inmates was also transferred to Queensboro, where they received a much less ambitious reentry program than that offered in Greenlight. The third group of 113 inmates did not receive any reentry programming. 7 notes

Date Published: December 1, 2006