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Reentry Court Evaluation

Date Published
October 7, 2019

Sidebar to the article NIJ-Funded Research Examines What Works for Successful Reentry by Blair Ames, published in NIJ Journal issue no. 281.

Through NIJ’s comprehensive evaluation of Second Chance Act programs, Northwest Professional Consortium, Inc., completed an evaluation of eight sites that had received Second Chance Act funding. Among the sites evaluated, some used funding to expand their reentry court programs, while others established new reentry courts.[1]

Of the eight reentry courts evaluated, all but one became fully operational. At the end of the evaluation period, six appeared to have positive prospects for sustaining their programs after the grant funding. A key lesson learned, based on the experience of grantees, was the importance of having team members who were committed to the success of clients and who believed in the reentry court model. Numerous stakeholders across the evaluated sites identified commitment to the reentry court philosophy and its participants as central to successfully implementing a program, especially among decision-makers such as judges and supervision officers.

The prospects of reducing recidivism, however, were not as positive. Overall, reentry court participants were found to have greater access to services along with higher accountability and supervision. Yet only one of the courts showed that program participants were less likely to be rearrested, reconvicted, and reincarcerated. At other sites, participants were significantly more likely to be reincarcerated, which indicates that the use of jail as a sanction for noncompliance may not be an effective use of resources.

About This Article

This article was published as part of NIJ Journal issue number 281, published October 2019, as a sidebar to the article NIJ-Funded Research Examines What Works for Successful Reentry, by Blair Ames.

Date Created: October 2, 2019