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.

Monitor policy and practice implementation Icon of pdf document

Enacting policy and practice changes is not the end of your local reentry coalition’s work. In fact, the lasting effectiveness of policy and practice changes hinges upon proper implementation. In this part of the toolkit, you’ll learn that seeing policy and practice changes through will involve continuing to meet as a local reentry coalition, ensuring that quality assurance measures are in place, collecting and analyzing data to understand the progress and impact of improvements, updating your strategic plan as necessary based on data, and maintaining open lines of communication with community members.

The information and resources in this section include:

The Questions to Consider in this section will help you think through your coalition’s process for monitoring policy and practice implementation:

Icon of question mark inside a circle
Questions to Consider
Circular icon of three people with center person lower than other two Do local reentry coalition members know what their implementation responsibilities are?
Given that your local reentry coalition members represent a variety of different agencies and organizations that serve the reentry population at different levels, they likely are seeing how policy and practice changes play out on the ground. Thus, they are uniquely positioned to monitor the implementation stage of policy and practice change. Articulate roles and responsibilities to ensure that policies and practices are carried out as intended, and use coalition meetings as an opportunity for members to report out how changes are going in the agencies and organizations they represent.
Circular icon of arrow weaving between two circles Do you have a strategy to assess the impact of policy and practice changes?
Your strategic plan is a helpful starting point for measuring the success of policy and practice changes. A data subcommittee on your local reentry coalition or research departments within local government agencies can be engaged to track progress against the performance measures set forth in your strategic plan.
Circular icon of a document with data displayed Are you prepared to report out on the effectiveness of enacted policies and practices?
Report-outs should be open and accessible to the public and should refer back to the performance measures identified in your strategic plan.

This Example from the Field reviews how Somerset County, Pennsylvania hired staff to implement new programs for supervision for remote local communities:

Icon of lower-case i inside a circle
Example from the Field

Preparing Staff to Carry Out New Programming

The Somerset County, Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners established a day reporting center (DRC) with two on-site probation officers to increase capacity for delivering specialized supervision to remote communities in the rural county. The DRC was built upon several foundational practices to address criminogenic needs and reduce recidivism, including using risk and needs assessments to inform targeted interventions; encouraging motivation to change; and applying incentives and rewards in response to positive behavior, and fair and graduated sanctions for negative behavior. Further, county leaders invested in staff training to ensure knowledge of and adherence to evidence-based practices.

Learn more about (PDF) the training staff received and how program leaders developed tools to assess whether DRC programming was being implemented as intended.

The Quick References below focus on creating, changing, monitoring, and promoting reentry policy and practice:

Icon of open book inside a circle
Quick References

Changing Policies: An Overview
This section of the Community Tool Box discusses how to determine whether the political climate in your community is ripe for policy change.

Five Ways to Engage County Elected Officials in Your Justice Initiatives (2019)
This brief presents practical tips for keeping local elected officials sufficiently involved in your community’s efforts related to criminal justice.

Franklin County Reentry Coalition 2016 Strategic Plan: A Community-Wide Commitment [PDF] (2016)
Review this document to learn how one local community’s reentry coalition approached strategic planning. See Appendix G for a useful example of translating goals into action steps.

How Counties Can Use Evidence-Based Policymaking to Achieve Better Outcomes (2018)
This report introduces the concept of evidence-based policymaking at the local level, part of which requires measuring the effectiveness of government programs.

Second Chance Cities: Local Efforts to Promote Re-Entry Success [PDF] (2018)
Read this report for examples of methods that cities around the country have undertaken to change reentry policy and practice.

Successful Change Management Practices in the Public Sector [PDF Download] (2016)
Based on findings from a survey of government employees, this report presents successful strategies for implementing organizational change as well as the most common roadblocks to change.