In 2011, 688,384 men and women — approximately 1,885 individuals a day — were released from state or federal custody. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 4.8 million individuals were under community supervision by the end of 2011.
Returning to the community from jail or prison is a complex transition for most persons who are incarcerated, as well as for their families and communities. Upon reentering society, they are likely to struggle with substance abuse, lack of adequate education and job skills, limited housing options, and mental health issues.
Congress recognized the importance of this issue by passing the Second Chance Act of 2007 (SCA). SCA provides federal grants for programs and services that work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for persons convicted of a crime who have completed any court-ordered punishment. Federal grants are also provided to support research and evaluation on a variety of aspects related to reentry.
NIJ's Reentry Research Portfolio
Offender reentry, the transition from life in jail or prison to life in the community, can have profound implications for public safety. NIJ continues to support research and evaluation of reentry-related issues, such as statewide reentry initiatives and research that examines the process of reentering society within the context of the community, neighborhood and family into which the individuals return.
Given the number of individuals under criminal justice supervision in the community, reentry continues to garner considerable attention from researchers and practitioners alike. Much of this attention has been paid to more traditional approaches to reentry programming — for example, job training and substance abuse programs. In recent years, several federal initiatives, including SCA and the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), have redirected research attention to coordinated approaches for individuals who are returning to communities after being incarcerated.
[note 2] Maruschak, Laura M., and Erika Parks, “Probation and Parole in the United States, 2011,” BJS Bulletin.