Innovations in Reentry Initiative: Reducing Recidivism through Systems Improvements
Incarcerated individuals deserve opportunities for healing and growth, but they often lack the necessary resources for such opportunities. Additionally, organizational cultures that don’t support these outcomes often stand in the way. Researchers and practitioners gathered at NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference to share ideas and projects that will increase opportunities for incarcerated populations around the country. This show continues their conversation.
Director of the National Institute of Justice Nancy La Vigne, Ph.D., and Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Alex Piquero, Ph.D., discuss important topics, programs and initiatives related to reentry and recidivism.
Taking Stock: An Overview of NIJ's Reentry Research Portfolio and Assessing the Impact of the Pandemic on Reentry Research
Over several decades, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has made significant contributions to the field of reentry, specifically what works for whom and when. In recent years, however, the global pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to conduct research on and with populations involved with the justice system. During this time, many researchers assessing various justice-related outcomes were unable to continue their inquiries as planned due to a lack of access to their populations of interest, forcing many to pivot and rethink their research designs.
Reauthorized in 2018, the Second Chance Act (SCA) aims to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities through the provision of federal grants. During this panel, National Institute of Justice-funded researchers will detail two ongoing evaluations of the SCA grant program:
- An evaluation of the effectiveness of the SCA grant program per Title V of the First Step Act.
- A longitudinal examination of the long-term impacts of the SCA program.
NIJ hosted a webinar to discuss under-researched aspects of reentry: expungement of criminal records and the impact of those records. This webinar includes a presentation of ongoing research projects examining the impact of legal aid for expungement and past research projects studying the accuracy and permanency of criminal records and the prevalence of collateral consequences of conviction. A Q&A session will conclude this webinar.
Most scholars would agree that desistance from crime – the process of ceasing engagement in criminal activities – is normative. However, there is variability in the literature regarding the definition and measurement of desistance, the signals of desistance, the age at which desistance begins, and the underlying mechanisms that lead to desistance. Even with considerable advances in the theoretical understanding of desistance from crime, there remain critical gaps between research and the application of that research to practice.
Gang Affiliation and Prisoner Reentry: Discrete-Time Variation in Recidivism by Current, Former, and Non-Gang Status
Evaluating the Long-Term Effects of Prisoner Reentry Services on Recidivism - What Types of Services Matter?
Researchers have devoted considerable attention to mass incarceration, specifically its magnitude, costs, and collateral consequences. In the face of economic constraints, strategies to reduce correctional populations while maintaining public safety are becoming a fiscal necessity. This panel will present strategies that states have undertaken to reduce incarceration rates while balancing taxpayer costs with ensuring public safety.
Dr. Kirk discusses how Hurricane Katrina affected those formerly incarcerated persons originally from New Orleans and their likelihood of returning to prison. Kirk also discussed potential strategies for fostering residential change among those who were incarcerated, focusing specifically on parole residency policies and the provision of public housing vouchers.
Funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Pew Center on the States, the justice reinvestment project is a data-driven strategy aimed at policymakers to "reduce spending on corrections, increase public safety and improve conditions in the neighborhoods to which most people released from prison return." Representatives from two states where the justice reinvestment strategy is currently being implemented will discuss how it is being used to reduce the rate of incarceration and how states can reinvest in local communities.
How can we prevent reoffending and reduce costs? Research points to a number of solutions. At the Tuesday plenary, Judge Steven Alm from Hawaii will describe his successes with hard-core drug offenders. “Swift and sure” is his motto. West Virginia Cabinet Secretary James W. Spears will discuss the issues from his state's perspective, and Adam Gelb, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Public Safety Performance Project, will lend a national overview.
The management of sexual offenders in the community post-release is an issue of increasing concern to law enforcement, policymakers and the public. In recent years, efforts to strengthen registration and notification have been enhanced. At the same time, comparatively little attention has been paid to related matters, such as how residency restrictions may impact offenders' efforts to find stable work and living arrangements once they are released from prison, whether rates of recidivism have changed, and whether these policies increase the safety of potential victims.