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Reentry Court Research: Overview of Findings from the National Institute of Justice's Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2017
33 pages
This is a summary overview of the findings and methodology of the NIJ-funded evaluation of the eight sites that received federal funding for the establishment and operation of Adult Reentry Courts under the federal Second Chance Act (SCA) of 2007.
The four goals of the evaluation were 1) to describe the SCA reentry courts through a comprehensive process evaluation; 2) to determine the effectiveness of the reentry courts in reducing recidivism among participants and improving individual outcomes through a rigorous impact evaluation; 3) to conduct a cost-benefit analysis; and 4) to contribute to the development of a "true" reentry court model. Evaluation findings were mixed across sites. One site consistently demonstrated positive outcomes in establishing the reentry court model, achieving recidivism reduction, having positive cost-benefit outcomes, and delivering more substance abuse treatment and other services compared to the control group. Key processes that set the one site with positive outcomes apart from the other sites was the high level of consistency and intensity of substance abuse treatment, wraparound services for multiple criminogenic needs, high-intensity supervision, and an increased use of praise from the judge, along with other incentives and sanctions. In addition, the eligibility criteria for the successful site required that participants have a substance-use disorder with risk levels ranging from moderate to high based on their risk assessment. In contrast, other sites had eligibility criteria that did not require a substance-use disorder, and participant risk levels were mostly "high" to "very high." The multi-method approach used in the evaluation is described. 12 tables and 13 references

Date Published: December 1, 2017