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.

Use evidence-based practices Icon of pdf document

Here you will learn how and why to incorporate evidence-based practices into your reentry strategy. Evidence-based practices are those programs and practices that research has been shown are effective at mitigating the risk and needs they are intended to address.

The information and resources in this section include:

The Questions to Consider in this section will help you think through which evidence-based practices are the right fit for your local community:

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Questions to Consider
Icon of light bulb encircled by icons of four people all inside a circle Do corrections agencies in your community use risk and needs assessments to develop case plans for incarcerated people?
A person’s assessed risk of recidivism, and the factors that contribute to their risk, should guide pre-release programming and transition planning. Tailoring programming decisions to a person’s risk factors and documenting their progress enables corrections agencies to leverage the term of incarceration to reduce the risk of recidivism. Time in prison or jail is an opportunity for corrections agencies to engage people in services that can prepare them for success after release, including treatment for behavioral health needs and education programming.
Icon of magnifying glass inside a circle Do community supervision agencies tailor supervision based on risk level?
People on probation and parole represent a large proportion of the criminal justice population in many communities and therefore can have a significant impact on a given jurisdiction’s recidivism rate. Community supervision agencies can amplify their impact on recidivism by tailoring supervision intensity and requirements to assessed risk level and needs. Supervision officers should have the necessary training and resources to develop individualized case plans and carry them out successfully.
Icon of a presenter and audience inside a cirlce What do your risk and needs assessment data tell you about the needs of your target population?
Ask your corrections and supervision agencies to prepare summaries of the risk and needs profile of your target population. How many people are assessed as high risk? What are the most common needs in your target population? How many people indicate a need for behavioral health treatment from screening tools? This risk and needs profile will be very useful as you begin to work through aligning resources in your community to meet these needs.
Icon of data bar chart increase with arrow pointing to star above all inside a circle Do local reentry programs prioritize programming for people assessed as high risk?
Although reentry programs might be tempted to recruit participants based on their willingness to engage in programming, that is not the best way to reduce recidivism. Community-based reentry programs typically are best positioned to reduce recidivism if they partner with a corrections or community supervision agency for participant recruitment, using assessment results to guide recruitment and decision making.

This Example from the Field describes how the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State implemented programming aligned with tribal values to reduce recidivism:

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Example from the Field

Merging Core Correctional Practices with Tribal Values

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State used Second Chance Act funds to develop a pre- and post-release reentry model rooted in evidence-based correctional practices and in the tribe’s values and traditions. Its “human dignity model” focuses on individual and community needs and taking rehabilitative, restorative, and culturally appropriate approaches to criminal justice. Risk factors are addressed through tailored case management and comprehensive services covering employment, dispute resolution, mental health, substance use treatment, and tribal values.

Find out what impact (PDF) the model had on the recidivism rate among the tribe and how progress monitoring allowed them to adjust the program throughout the course of the grant.

These Quick References provide a repository of evidence-based recidivism-reduction programs and ways to evaluate your programs and practices:

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Quick References
This website lists criminal justice programs and practices and assesses the degree to which they are evidence based.

Evidence-Based Practices Resources Guide
Use this collection of resources to browse program models that have been tested in criminal justice settings.

Reducing Statewide Recidivism: Checklist for State Corrections and Community Supervision Administrators [PDF] (2018)
This checklist helps corrections and community supervision leaders assess recidivism reduction policies and practices to ensure that they are aligned with evidence-based practices. Although intended for state corrections and community supervision leaders, this checklist also can help local criminal justice leaders evaluate their recidivism reduction efforts.