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The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative: The Basics

Date Published
March 26, 2012

Sidebar to the article Improving Access to Services for Female Offenders Returning to the Community, by Marie Garcia with Nancy Ritter, published in NIJ Journal issue no. 269.

SVORI was an unprecedented national response to the challenges of re-entry into society.[1] Funded by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Labor, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services, SVORI provided $100 million in funding to improve the criminal justice, employment, education, health and housing outcomes for people returning to the community after prison.

Beginning in 2003, 69 agencies in the U.S. received $500,000-$2 million over a three-year period. There was little federal guidance for the development of re-entry programs, although the agencies had to offer a three-phase continuum of services beginning during incarceration, intensifying just before release and during the first few months post-release, and continuing for several years. Therefore, the 89 programs developed under SVORI varied considerably in approach, services provided and target populations.

NIJ funded RTI International and the Urban Institute to evaluate the impact of SVORI. The evaluation assessed:

  • Whether SVORI programs, compared with "treatment as usual," increased individuals' access to pre-release services.
  • Whether SVORI participants continued to receive more services than non-SVORI participants upon release.
  • Whether SVORI participants experienced better outcomes than non-SVORI participants on measures of employment, education, housing, relationships, substance abuse, physical and mental health, and recidivism.

The multi-year, multisite evaluation included an implementation assessment, impact evaluation and economic analysis. The final report was published in 2009 in six volumes.

In fiscal year 2010, NIJ awarded $401,670 to RTI to reexamine data collected in the original SVORI evaluation and supplemental data. The project will attempt to determine what worked and for whom. Findings are expected in 2012.

About This Article

This article was published as part of NIJ Journal issue number 269, published March 2012, as a sidebar to the article Improving Access to Services for Female Offenders Returning to the Community, by Marie Garcia with Nancy Ritter.

Date Published: March 26, 2012