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.

Cultivate buy-in to enact policy and practice changes Icon of pdf document

What it means to institute policy or practice change will vary depending on the type of change and the chosen mechanism. But one constant of policy and practice change is that it requires identifying who the relevant decision makers are and generating support from them as well as the people who will be affected by proposed improvements. This part of the toolkit will help you cultivate buy-in from key stakeholders to help you enact the policy and practice changes needed for your reentry strategy to succeed.

The information and resources in this section include:

These Questions to Consider will help you think about which local decision makers and stakeholders can influence the policy and practice change that can help you achieve your coalition’s goals.

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Questions to Consider
Circular icon of a gear encircled by arrowed pathways Have you projected the impact of proposed policy and practice changes?
To cultivate buy-in for any proposed improvement, your local reentry coalition will need to be equipped with data that demonstrate the need for change and the anticipated impact of each change. Be prepared to communicate how proposed policy and practice changes will affect your identified goals, and project the financial impact of policy and practice changes.
Circular icon of a document showing a structured plan Have you shared the strategic plan with local decision makers and stakeholders?
Acquainting community members, neighborhood organizations, people who have been in or affected by the criminal justice system, policymakers, advocates, and nonprofit leaders with your strategic plan is an important step toward ensuring that your efforts are well informed and ultimately well received by key constituencies. For more information on building this kind of community support, see Section 3.
Circular icon of an organizational structure with one circle on top of three circles Are you familiar with principles of organizational culture change?
Change is difficult for any organization. Some of the policy and practice changes spearheaded by your local reentry coalition likely will meet resistance among the personnel who will be responsible for carrying out those changes in their day-to-day work. If your coalition understands and acknowledges the challenges associated with organizational change, you might have more success engaging agency and organization leaders to effect proposed improvements.

The Example from the Field in this section discusses how Maricopa County, Arizona identified and addressed service gaps by reallocating existing funding.

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Example from the Field

Generating Support for Organizational Change

The Adult Probation Department in Maricopa County, Arizona, used Second Chance Act grant funding to strengthen its Thinking for a Change (T4C) program by addressing inconsistencies in the ways that staff were implementing the cognitive behavioral intervention. The department leaders hosted a meeting of all T4C facilitators in the county, including community-based service providers who offer T4C programming. The facilitators first collaborated to identify specific procedural inconsistencies and then created work groups to address those problem areas. The groups took several weeks to explore and develop ideas for program standardization and then reconvened with recommendations, which subsequently were adopted formally throughout the county.

Learn more about (PDF) how the probation department uses feedback to continue to sustain consistent and effective T4C programming.