Building Second Chances: Tools for Local Reentry Coalitions
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.
Each of your coalition’s goals likely will be associated with a number of different policy and practice improvements, and there are a host of different mechanisms your coalition can explore to bring about these proposed improvements. This part of the toolkit will help you to understand the available options in order to select the appropriate mechanisms for each potential policy and practice change.
The information and resources in this section include:
The Questions to Consider in this section will help you understand the differences between policy and practice change, and how to set priorities for each:
Questions to Consider
|Have you established criteria for selecting policy and practice mechanisms?
In some cases, it will be very clear which mechanism is most appropriate for a given policy or practice change. In others, it might be possible to achieve the same outcome with different mechanisms. Your local reentry coalition should be prepared to evaluate the relative merits of different types of policy and practice mechanisms to determine which ones to pursue. It might be difficult, for example, to pursue certain changes in a local election year, depending on the context. When making these decisions, consider what policy and practice mechanisms your jurisdiction has successfully implemented in the past. Looking to other jurisdictions for examples of reentry policy and practice mechanisms also can be a useful exercise.
|Do you understand the process for instituting each type of mechanism?
Different communities have different procedures for effecting change. As you are selecting policy and practice mechanisms, it is important to understand what it will take to carry them out in your specific jurisdiction. For example, if your local reentry coalition seeks to pass a local ordinance, you should be familiar with the local government’s public hearing schedule, if applicable, and the governing body’s voting process. As discussed in Section 1, policy and practice changes are inextricably linked to the availability of resources. The strategic planning worksheet in Appendix D will prompt you to consider the resources necessary to accomplish each mechanism.
|Are you dividing this work among local reentry coalition members?
Selecting the appropriate mechanisms for each of your local reentry coalition’s proposed improvements can be a daunting and time-consuming effort. Consider tasking designated, topic-specific subcommittees or working groups in your coalition with determining mechanisms for relevant policy and practice changes. Mechanisms chosen by subcommittees can then be elevated to the full coalition for discussion.