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Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration Programs: Implementation Challenges and Lessons Learned

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2015
25 pages
One in a series of briefs from the Cross-Site Evaluation of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) FY 2011 Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration Projects (AORDP), this report describes the implementation challenges and successes among seven grantees who implemented adult reentry programs using SCA funding.
Designed to meet the multiple challenges facing former inmates upon their return to the community, the AOROP programs provide an array of pre- and post-release services, including education and literacy programs, job placement, housing services, and mental health substance abuse treatment. Risk and needs assessments, transition case planning, and case management are key elements of grantees' SCA projects. The programs became fully operational early in their grant periods and remained largely stable over time, with modifications commonly including increased accessibility to activities and expansions of service delivery networks by adding partners. The most common cross-site implementation challenges were staff turnover and program administrative barriers; barriers to effective collaboration between corrections agencies and community partners; enrollment, recruitment, and retention of participants; and service provision challenges. The main service provision challenge was greater customization of service delivery and additional resources to fill service gaps. The main lessons learned pertained to program administration and partnerships. Among the recommendations are to obtain early involvement of policymakers; administer the program as a community-based, rather than law-enforcement-based program; and fully engage the community service providers. Lessons learned are also discussed for staffing and service delivery approaches. Site-specific features and innovations are highlighted. The research for this report is based on the first round of process evaluation site visits, which were conducted in winter 2014 (approximately 3 years into the sites' grant period). Additional reports will provide a more comprehensive examination of the seven sites' programs. 2 exhibits

Date Published: August 1, 2015