Building Second Chances: Tools for Local Reentry Coalitions

PARTS 1 & 2

This toolkit is designed for local city, county, and community leaders who want to play an active role in improving reentry policy, practice, and outcomes. Within, you will find user-friendly references to seminal publications, research findings, and noteworthy examples of the foundational knowledge needed to design new reentry strategies and reinvigorate existing ones.

Establish a baseline recidivism rate and set reduction goals Icon of pdf document

This section of the toolkit will lead you through the steps needed to establish a baseline recidivism rate, which gives your reentry coalition a solid basis for setting recidivism-reduction goals.  These goals can unify and motivate your coalition, community-based reentry providers, and the broader community.

The information and resources in this section include:

While there are many ways to establish a baseline recidivism rate, the steps most often taken include:

Step 1 Define the chosen recidivism measure(s) by time and event
Step 2 Select a specific population
Step 3 Determine your data source
Step 4 Identify a start date

Learn more about establishing a baseline recidivism rate (PDF)

These Questions to Consider will help you take steps to set your recidivism-reduction goals, from enlisting the right partners to setting realistic long- and short-term targets. 

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Questions to Consider
Icon of flat atop a mountain all inside a circle Have you developed your recidivism-reduction goals collaboratively?
Your recidivism-reduction goals should reflect input from the different individuals and organizations represented on your local reentry coalition that ultimately will affect whether those targets are met. Using an inclusive process to establish recidivism-reduction goals will increase the backing of organizations that are critical to achieving those goals.
Icon of arrow in bullseye of target all inside a circle Are your recidivism-reduction targets realistic?
If longitudinal data are available for analysis, consider whether the reduction targets are in line with other changes in recidivism that have occurred in your community in the past. For instance, if the
largest recidivism reduction in the last 20 years was a 5 percent decrease between 1992 and 1994, then a 50 percent recidivism-reduction goal over 2 years might be overly ambitious, but a goal of 10 percent might be achievable.
Icon of a clockwise arrow around a clock face all inside a circle Are your recidivism-reduction targets time-bound?
In order for your local reentry coalition to hold itself accountable for working toward recidivism-reduction goals, you must set clear timelines. You might choose to set both short-term (e.g., over 6 months) and long-term (e.g., over 10 years) goals to check progress incrementally from the date when your coalition implements changes to reduce recidivism.