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.

Develop priorities and goals for change Icon of pdf document

A critical first step for potential improvements to your coalition’s work is setting priorities, which ultimately will determine the policy and practice agenda for your reentry strategy. In this part of the toolkit, you’ll take everything you’ve learned about the local reentry landscape in thus far in this toolkit—from your reentry map to your inventory of services and assessment of resources—to develop priorities for policy and practice change.

The information and resources in this section include:

These Questions to Consider will help you put in place processes for decision making and goal setting:

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Questions to Consider
Circular of person, center, with a check-marked box to the left and an x-ed box to the right Is there an established process for arriving at decisions as a group?
Local reentry coalition members should have structured opportunities to voice their opinions. Your coalition might consider instituting a group voting process or designating a neutral facilitator to lead the group to consensus. Regardless of the specific decision-making approach, be sure to include people directly affected by crime and incarceration in the development of priorities; they are best suited to speak to the real-life impact of reentry policy and practice in your community.
Circular icon of star surrounded by arrows pointing down at it Do you know how local agencies and organizations are expending available funding?
Do you understand how external factors may affect your priorities? Factors such as current policy campaigns, high-profile incidents, or politicized budget negotiations can have an outsized impact on the success of your efforts. By considering these types of external influences, you can better determine how to enhance your chances of success or opt to focus on different priorities if these factors will impede your efforts.
Circular icon of flag-topped mountain Do you have a mixture of short- and long-term goals?
Define your goals with an eye toward the timeline. While some of your goals—such as those related to recidivism—will necessarily be long term, others should be achievable within months or a year. Having a combination of short- and long-term goals will help maintain momentum among local reentry coalition members and provide opportunities to report successes publicly throughout the course of your activities.