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From Reentry to Results: Performance Measurement in Prisoner Reentry Initiatives

Anna R. Kohn
Final Capstone, May 2011 National Urban Fellows, Inc. Professor Hilary Botein, Capstone Advisor

From Reentry to Results: Performance Measurement in Prisoner Reentry Initiatives

Executive Summary...............................................................4 I. Introduction......................................................................5 II. Overview and History.......................................................9 A. Historical Context 9 B. Statewide Trends 12 C. Prison Versus Jail 13 D. Pilot Program Evaluation..............................................15 E. Where We Are Headed..................................................18 III. Background and Standard Operating Procedures............21 A. Individualized Attainment and Measurement 21 B. Individualized Treatment 22 C. Standard Operating Procedures 23 D. A Private Interest? 25 IV. Outstanding Needs of Reentry Programs........................28 A. Defining Success 28 B. Determining Objectives 30 V. Current Evaluations and What (Currently) Works.............34 A. Measurement Tools 34 B. Reentry Barriers as Performance Indicators 36 C. What Do These Indicate? ..............................................44 C. Effective Evaluation Models...........................................47 D. Project Greenlight Evaluation........................................48 VI. Performance Measures of Evaluation..............................53 A. Office of Justice Programs Audit 53 B. Risk Assessments.........................................................59 VII. Evidence Based Practices, Methodology and Evaluation Suggestions........................................................................62 A. An Evidence-Based Practice: IPASS 63 B. A Best Practice 65 IIX. Future of Performance Measurement in Reentry............67 A. Performance Measurement as Evaluation 67

IIX. Conclusion 70

From Reentry to Results:

Performance Measurement in Prisoner Reentry Initiatives

Anna R. Kohn
National Urban Fellows, Class of 2011 Final Capstone

From Reentry to Results: Performance Measurement in Prisoner Reentry Initiatives

-EXECUTIVE SUMMARYAt the heart of prisoner reentry is people; the overarching theme, rehabilitation. Yet, since prisoner reentry has taken its present shape --particularly as a result of the Second Chance Act , which began in 2001 as the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) (Holl and Kolovich, 2009)-- and since the Department of Labor (DOL) began awarding grants to pilot prisoner reentry projects in 2006 and 2007, there has been little discussion about performance measurement related to the outcomes of these efforts. In many scholarly articles and authored works, there is little hard data that might demonstrate the effectiveness of the techniques being used, the best practices, and the future sustainability of prisoner reentry. In short, we dont know what the best practices are or how to identify them. Additionally, to continue on a path that reduces these numbers by 0.3 percent when we face a population of 7.3 million currently under some form of correctional supervision (including probation, parole, AND institutionalization), the progress will be incredibly tedious. The Pew Center identifies this 7.3 million supervised population in very understandable terms: 1 in 31 Americans is under supervision, or 3.2 percent of all adults in this country (Warren, 2009). Without a proper discussion of prisoner reentry evaluation techniques, it will become more and more challenging to determine whether these programs are worth the funding they absorb. Pressing concerns of evaluation quality in this field should not be taken lightlytesting has begun, but for all intents and purposes, it is still in the beginning stages. As the government begins to move 4

more funds into reentry programming and criminal justice diversion programs, it will be imperative to collect all existing data from baseline to end results. Without a full continuum of both evaluation and performance improvements, our execution of reentry practices will not mature in any consistent or pragmatic way. I. INTRODUCTION To assert in any case that a man must be absolutely cut off from society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good, and no one in his right mind will believe this today. Albert Camus Nestled in upper Manhattan, The Fortune Society of New York City is one of the oldest and best-known reentry programs in the United States today. Walking through their facilities in both Manhattan and in Long Island City brings to mind notions of an educational or vocational training center, equipped with up-to-date technology, brightly colored walls, expansive and open hallways, and a plethora of very helpful staff. Vibrant artwork decorates the walls, and there are no guards, bars, or divisions in the building despite the challenging population living there. Deciding to explore the one facility that, from what I understand, executes the task of rehabilitation better than anyone else helped me internalize the true value of facilities like this. I asked staff and clients what makes the Fortune Society different from all of the other residential programs they could be at. The answer was consistentthe people.

New York has never been synonymous with hospitality, and by no stretch is it one of the more compassionate metro areas in the nation. However, what New York does possess is people, experience, practice and history. Some clients are remanded by court authorities to be part of the Fortune Societys unique program. However for each remandee at the Fortune Society, there are five willing and able participants who have come to the program by their own volition. Sitting in on a support group session in upper Manhattan, I was able to gain a window into the relationships and dealings that the clients have with each other. The discussion of this particular support group ended up being in large part over a young man who had been robbed for the third time at the Fortune Society, yet had a hard time coming to terms with the accountability and responsibility of remembering where he was. For instance, the young man left his jacket--with his iPod in the pocket-- on a piano in a common area, only to come back later and find the item missing from his coat. The young man discussed the way he would have dealt with this prior to his incarcerationretribution in some violent or equally harmful way. One of the more seasoned community members taking part in the group was a well-dressed gentleman in his 60s whose most powerful comment was its not about what are YOU going to do, but what are WE going to do focusing more heavily on the dynamic of a community-based solution rather than a

singlehanded vindication. As it turned out, the older gentleman who provided some invaluable feedback to the young man was not only one of the Fortune Societys top performers, he was a cop killer who spent 35 years in a maximum security penitentiary. Much to my surprise, he seemed to imbue the lessons of the Fortune Society better than anyone in the room: This is a community, you are a part of it, so you must treat it like your own by nurturing and understanding that the only way to succeed is to have the community as a whole succeed. In Long Island City, the Fortune Society has created personalized environments in which different clients live and work. The most striking it works evidence came from the second floor, where my tour guide explained that we would be entering the most at-risk hallway, largely populated by the youth remanded to enter this transitional program in lieu of jail time. Should a young offender maintain negative behavior or act out in any detrimental way, the offender will be sentenced to real jail time in a secure facility such as Rikers Island. The at-risk hallway looks no different from the other hallwaystables, chairs, artwork on the walls and a homeynot punitivefeeling. Adjacent to the at-risk hallway is the Family Unit, where families live and grow with the proper tools to help them succeed as a whole. Taken aback by the proximity of the two very different constituencies, I asked my tour guide how they can justify

having at-risk offenders be so close to kids and families. The way we see it, Barry Campbell, Executive Assistant to the CEO said, 99 percent of this young population will end up being a parent at some point in their lives. It is crucial for them to have access to the tools, information, and resources they will need to make the best decisions for their futures and the futures of their children, so we keep the two close together. Amazing, I thought; this organization understands the full cycle of rehabilitation in truly meaningful and effective ways. Despite doing just about everything right, The Fortune Society contends that, like any nonprofit, there are some operations and practices that would benefit from better funding. What is the Fortune Societys greatest need? Performance measurement, process evaluation, and a system for determining and reporting outcomes. This pioneer organization, responsible for the rehabilitation of thousands of formerly incarcerated men and women has no formal method of quantifying results. With evaluative measures in place at a relatively reasonable cost, the Fortune Society could effectively multiply the amount of local, federal, and community-based dollars it receives. For organizations that have the ability to procure evaluation systems and methods, the outcomes both in funding and capacity grow immensely. Being able to confidently say that, for instance, 80

percent of our clients successfully complete the program creates an incredibly powerful tool for clients, administrators, funders, and the community at large. In fact, most funders through grant opportunities or other corporate/philanthropic donors expect outcomes to be reported and to be funded through some percentage of the dollars theyve granted. For instance, in a Second Chance Act grant, about 10 percent of the award given by the federal government is stipulated to be used strictly on evaluation and reporting outcomes. The problem is that without a standard model, the evaluation system will be biased, inconclusive, or untested at best. It is our responsibility in the Public Administration field to quantify the importance of these projects and ways their impact can be effectively measured. Determining both the best methods for collecting the data, and, as a result, developing potential solutions to this overwhelming problem should be our contribution to the organizations who work in direct servicebeing able to report in some scholarly manner that yes, our evidence-based practices are not only the best practices, they will withstand the time-sensitive evolution of programs, people, and help those who need it most at all stages.

II. OVERVIEW AND HISTORY The fact that so many Americans, including hundreds of thousands who are a threat to no one, are incarcerated means that something is wrong with our criminal justice system and the way we deal with both dangerous criminals and those whose behavior we simply dont like. David Keene, American Conservative Union (2009) Corrections is one of the few industries in America that will probably never experience a depression, an economic downturn, or a recession. So long as there is crime, so shall there be criminals. The revolving door nature of prisons that have befuddled lawmakers for the last several decades has finally become unsustainable. To keep on doing what we have been doing, to build more, invest more, and expect more, is no longer realistic, yet we only know this because the current state of corrections is financially and socially untenable. If data had been available to help drive policy and community-based reentry practices, we might not be in the state we are in. A. Historical Context The most persistent effort to curb criminal behavior in the past decade has been through the development and implementation of prisoner reentry programs as a means of helping ex-offenders transition back into life beyond the prison walls. However, the first attempts at some form of reentry began long before the prison population reached such an overwhelming level. Parole was in essence the first form of an institutionalized rehabilitation method. In


1876 in Michigan, a penologist named Zebulon Brockway (1827-1920) developed the first parole system for the US with a focus specifically on the idea that criminals could be reformed and that every prisoners treatment should be individualized (Petersilia, 2003). Starting in New York, Brockways model and classification standards began spreading around the country, and by 1942 parole mechanisms were utilized in every state (Ibid.). While today parole is just another form of a punitive sanction, the initial reasoning began with a need to rehabilitate exoffenders rather than disqualify them as active members of society. The parole system as we understand it has morphed from Brockways discretionary model into todays commonly observed mandatory parole, typically the accumulation of good time (that is, time incarcerated with no negative reports, disciplinary actions or sanctions) as reasonable evidence that an inmate should be released after serving the minimum amount of time legally necessary for the crime committed (Ibid.). There has been a constant struggle to determine the effectiveness of parole, probation, and other pre-release and postrelease sanctions on offenders. The system has undergone many legal and social changes, and in 1974, scholar Robert Martinson definitively concluded that the US rehabilitation mechanisms were not positively influencing recidivism (Visher, 2006). In the 1980s and 1990s, a few events took place to change the course of the rehabilitative model of


reintegration. First, the American public began to believe that corrections was not about rehabilitation, that it should be more focused around the idea of punitive supervision than true correction of behavior. Second, trends in sentencing began to change, and parole was no longer required among federal correctional authorities. Third, the war on drugs and the crack-cocaine epidemic beginning in the 1980s began to undermine belief that repeat drug offenders could be rehabilitated. (Ibid.; Schlosser, 1999). Combined with the presence of younger criminals, more mature crimes, and more sophisticated law enforcement, the system slowly became inundated by the need for supervision at every level of criminal punishment and corrections. As of January 2010, 1,404,053 individuals were under the jurisdiction of state prison authorities, and 208,118 were in Federal custody (Pew, 2010). 1925 was the first year that statistics on


prisoners began to be collected, when a mere 82,239 inmates were under correctional supervision. By 1972nearly five decades later the prison population had grown by a relatively modest 112 percent (Ibid.), with the number of inmates reaching 174,379. Major hikes in the prison population began in 1973, often keeping offenders locked up to serve out an entire sentence rather than to release them and make room for new offenders. In the past four decades , the prison population rose by a staggering 705 percent (Ibid.). However, according to the Pew Center on the States, 2010 was the first time in 38 years that the population actually slightly declined from the prior year, a decrease of 4,777, or 0.3 percent fewer inmates (Ibid.). While a step in the right direction, one must question the decline, the overall trends, and the effort of prisoner reentry programs on this figure.
Figure 1: Source: Bureau of Justice Leading the decline of these numbers were the states of California,

Michigan and New York, who attribute some of this decline to the success they have had in their statewide prisoner reentry programs. However, it is not due to reentry programs alone that 2010s number of detainees was just slightly lower than 2009s. The Pew Center on the States reports
Whatever level of crime reduction was achieved is worth applauding. What cannot be overlooked, however, is that even the statistical models most generous to prisons find that most of the crime drop was attributable to forces other than incarceration. These include a strengthening economy, aging drug epidemics and changes in law enforcement, including the


expansion of police forces and the adoption of new policing strategies. (Warren, 2009)

B. Statewide Trends One of the proportionally largest decreases in correctional populations occurred in the State of Michigan. Michigan has promoted a number of strategies worth examining for the future of reentry practices in this country. In 2007, when Michigans prison population reached its apex of 51,554, lawmakers began instituting updated sentencing guidelines and regulations to alleviate the financial and social burdens incurred. In three years, Michigan was able to bring down the prison population by close to 6,000 inmates by the institution of three important aspects: 1) reducing the number of individuals who serve more than the entirety of their minimum sentences, 2) decreasing the amount of parole revocations, and 3) building up a very strong Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative (Solomon, Thompson and Keegan, 2004). Funding for the pilot MPRI program was provided by both the state Corrections Department and the federal government in the form of SVORI and PRI grants. Two other model states have been Texas and California. Following a similar operational procedure to Michigan, both states worked to expand nonviolent offender sanctions within communities, reinvest dollars in post-penal assistance programs, and offer more


appropriate sentencing laws for nonviolent offenders (Ibid.). C. Prison Versus Jail Jail systems are as overwhelmed as prison systems. Prisons and jails differ in a number of ways, most notably in the kinds of offenders they house. Prisons are intended for offenders who have already been sentenced, typically, to a sentence of more than one year. Prisons range in the types of supervision they provide, including minimum, medium, maximum, and supermax security. These supervision levels are based on both an offenders crime and an offenders likelihood to harm himself or those around him. Should an offender from a minimum security facility commit further crimes while incarcerated, it is typical for his supervision level to be heightened accounting for both an increased level of oversight and a diminished set of liberties during incarceration (which may or may not include time spent outside of ones cell, ones ability to interact with other offenders, or ones access the outdoors or yard). While prisons are often assumed to be more punitive in nature, it is important to note that jails do not offer the types of programs that prisons do, such as higher education, behavioral adjustment/anger management instruction, and employment assignments (working in a prison kitchen, cleaning cell blocks, sewing or fabrication), which can suggest that individuals who have longer stints in prison may actually have more corrective opportunities than those in jail. 15

Jails serve a dual purpose; housing nonviolent offenders who are serving approximately one year or less, and housing offenders who may have committed more violent or serious crimes who are awaiting sentencing, trial, or appeals. Due to the often temporary nature of jail stays (though some individuals can spend years in a jail awaiting trial or sentencing), there is usually far less corrective programming based on the amount of time offenders must spend there and the risk they pose to the outside world upon release. For instance, an individual serving time for drug use or driving under the influence of alcohol who must only serve 90 days will often argue that he has no need to begin a higher education class or a behavior recognition course, because in three months, he will return to a life where he may have a job, a family, and presumably, not that much to correct. Additionally, the type and amount of traffic that comes in and out of jails is of a much higher volume than is seen in prisons. Upon any arrest, an offender will always be taken to jail as his first stop, regardless of the severity of the offense. Due to the temporary nature of jails, the notion of reentry has been a constant challenge at the jail level. According to penologist Dr. Gary Christensen,
It takes approximately 2 years for our nations prison population to cycle once; while our jail population cycles 20-25 times during the same time periodContrary to common understanding, [jail] release[s] 90 percent of their populations directly back to the local community and their admission rates


are usually over ten times that of their daily population. Given the reality of shorter, uncertain incarceration periods, the opportunity for immersion within comprehensive programmatic initiatives within jails is relatively short. This has led to the assumption that comprehensive correctional programming is not suited for local correctional populations. (Christensen, 2008)

In an effort to alleviate the traffic and financial burden of recidivating criminals, the US government has begun directing its efforts towards prevention, intervention, and post-release planning. At the heart of prisoner reentry is people; the overarching theme, rehabilitation. Yet, since prisoner reentry has taken shape (particularly as a result of the Second Chance Act , which began in 2001 as the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) (Holl and Kolovich, 2009) and since the Department of Labor (DOL) began awarding grants to pilot prisoner reentry projects in 2006 and 2007, there has been little discussion about performance measurement related to the outcomes of these efforts. When the few evaluations conducted for reentry programs were examined, outcomes and successes for individual ex-offenders varied significantly. D. Pilot Program Evaluation The pilot demonstration programs, funded by the DOL and Department of Justice (DOJ) were first evaluated starting in 2005. The programs that were selected by the DOJ to conduct these


demonstrative initiatives drew upon the strengths of each awardee organizationwell-respected within their communities, experienced in providing social services to at-risk populations, and utilizing vast networks of volunteers and enthusiastic support (Ibid.). A cumulative total of $19.84 million grant dollars were to be divided among 30 separate, exemplary grantee programs across the country including faith-based organizations, state and community service agencies which were required to enroll 200 individuals transitioning out of the justice system into reentry programs in 20 states (Ibid.). Researchers Douglas Holl and Lisa Kolovich produced a comprehensive report to assess how community agencies receiving DOL PRI grant awards successfully developed employment-centered approaches for exoffenders that focused on stable jobs and housing in their neighborhoods and communities. (Holl and Kolovich, 2009) After determining the programmatic criteria, the evaluators began determining whether or not the grantees proceeded in the manner stipulated by the grantor. In 2006, the DOL determined performance measures for the programs in existence, which would be specific to each project, including (1) enrollment rate, (2) participation rate, (3) entered employment rate, (4) employment retention rate, (5) average earnings, (6) recidivism rate, (7) degree/certificate attainment rate, (8) substance abuse abstinence rate, and (9) stable housing rate (Ibid.). The best indicator of the success of these pilot programs and the


aforementioned indicators can be exemplified by noting the substantial decline of recidivism rates among the program participants. Between 70 and 82 percent of participants were reported by grantees to have no CJ [criminal justice] involvement during the first year after release. This rate is tremendous evidence that the PRI programs are promising and fruitful, as recidivism has been the preferred measurement of reentry program success. The researchers felt strongly that much of this success was attributable to the sound structure and operational components of each program, and found that the mentoring programs had a particularly high success rate. A few findings that proved particularly interesting included: Federal prisoners have less extensive criminal histories and more access to in-penal tools like education and vocational skills. Participants over the age of 35 did markedly better remaining with reentry programs for longer periods of time than the younger participants. Women were likelier to face challenges securing and maintaining stable housing than men due to more limited options. These PRI programs cost less than anticipated, averaging


about $4.50 per day per participant. The approach taken on by grantees for assisting their participants was largely on a one-by-one basis, including job training and development. Most sites were able to report that DOL recruitment goals were being met only by the end of their second operating year.

Poor communication was the root cause of most programmatic setbacks or failures. Additionally, it was not possible to collect consistent information across all 30 programs. (Ibid.)

Drawbacks to the evaluation methodology conducted by Holl and Kolovich included the trivialization of baseline data because it was selfreported by the clients; recording the receipt of services in different manners from site to site; the underreporting of service intensitythat is, not including the number of hours spent with each clientonly the number of days; and having a wide variety of experience among program managers and other staff members, therefore breeding informal, inconsistent data collection practices. (Ibid.) Holl and Kolovichs thoughtful evaluation methodology was a remarkable step in the right direction for measuring the outcomes of prisoner reentry


programs. The evaluation pointed to the importance of reentry efforts, and that if conducted properly, such efforts can produce favorable results to impact recidivism. However, a significant consideration that must be made regarding these and any evaluations is their ability to be repeated and prove similar results. Since this evaluation has yet to be retested and therefore adjudged scientifically sound, it is hard to confirm that one study alone can result in desired outcomes from both objective and unbiased viewpoints. In addition to the importance of retesting these findings, it is imperative to note that these results still leave present uncertainties about individualized program outcomes. For instance, while we may be well aware of how some of the DOLs initiatives are being executed by community service providers, we have little evidence to show that they work for any given individual. E. Where We Are Headed The Second Chance Act grant will be a significant player in changing the face of reentry systems across the nation. It was determined that the 30 pilot programs, and as a result, the preceding Serious and Violent Offenders Reentry Initiative (SVORI) and Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) (which operated from 2002-2009) grant programs were effective in helping ease the reintegration process for ex-offenders in some ways (which will be discussed in the Evaluations section of this report). However, major shortfalls


surrounding both evaluation methodology and potential means of improving performance are still the most urgent issues and voids to address in the field. In many scholarly articles and authored works, there is a lack of hard data that might demonstrate the effectiveness of the techniques being used, the best practices, and the future sustainability of prisoner reentry. In short, we dont know what the best practices are or how to identify them. Additionally, to continue on a path that reduces these numbers by 0.3 percent when we face a population of 7.3 million currently under some form of correctional supervision (including probation, parole, AND institutionalization), the progress will be incredibly tedious. The Pew Center identifies this 7.3 million supervised population in very understandable terms: 1 in 31 Americans is under supervision, or 3.2 percent of all adults in this country (Warren, 2009). Without a proper discussion of prisoner reentry evaluation techniques, it will become more and more challenging to determine whether these programs are worth the funding they absorb. While the collection of data could well indicate the development and success of each program, performance monitoring and data collection are not being utilized in an effective or standardized method. Much of the research and reports have been trivialized due to a lack of formalized evaluation methodology. If 200 different programs are measuring their 22

progress in 200 different ways, it is incredibly challenging to determine a uniform response to the what works? question.


III. BACKGROUND AND STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES In the realm of psychology [the prison-industrial complex] is an overreaction to some perceived threat. Eisenhower no doubt had that meaning in mind when, during his farewell address, he urged the nation to resist "a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties." Eric Schlosser, The Atlantic (1998) The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that within three years of an inmates release, well over two-thirds of the released population will be rearrested for new crimes. That said, a number of components need to be factored into methods of assessing the success of reentry programs. The main characteristics of life in prison from an institutional standpoint involve considerations of work, health, education, social skills, and most of all punitive restriction. When an individual transitions out of an institution where everything from bathroom breaks to sleep schedules is predetermined, it is hard to adjust to life beyond the walls. At the jail level, this transition is complicated by the fact that jails are far more temporary and as a result, less damaging to a persons routine and responsibilities, while at the same time imposing a segregated approach to living life. The multifaceted system of reentry therefore must be individualized and rehabilitative. A. Individualized Attainment and Measurement As educational attainment levels vary widely with so many


individuals under supervision, it is hard to create a standard practice for dealing with everyone as a group. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that approximately 40 percent of state and federal inmates had not completed high school or attained a GED (Solomon, Johnson, Travis, and McBride, 2004), compared to 18 percent of the countrys general 18 and over population. This discrepancy is further complicated by the fact that less than half of the inmate population receives some sort of educational or vocational training while incarcerated (Ibid.). Many other areas of programming are lacking in prisons, particularly healthcare (both mental and physical). According to the Urban Institute, between 30 and 40 percent of survey respondents to their Returning Home study from 2006 report having a chronic physical or mental ailment. Worse, the Urban Institute reports that there are few (if any) evidence-based reentry housing programs that target mentally ill prisoners (Baer, et al, 2006), and therefore this slice of the reentry universe is increasingly hard to touch. Additionally, the reentry world concedes major problems with the riskiest criminogenic factors: antisocial values, criminal peers, low self-control, dysfunctional family ties, substance abuse, and criminal personality (Christensen, 2008). B. Individualized Treatment


Offenders come from a number of different backgrounds and lifestyles, further complicating the feasibility of a uniform data collection method. It is important to note that just as at any other institution, each attitude and incarcerated individual is very different from the next. Because of these differences, any system proposed to measure outcomes and successes must account for this range of variables among individual performance. The treatment needs of the mentally ill with comorbid diagnoses such as substance abuse or a lack of education may be far different than those of a violent criminal without a family or network of support to return to. The process of both institutionalization and deinstitutionalization can be damaging, often with permanent emotional impacts (Petersilia, 2003). Due to the vast variation of these needs and personalities, treatment plans must target an individuals needs in the same way that medical care targets specific diseases, disorders or ailments with post-care planning specific to those conditions. The wide range of variables and characteristics include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, length of stay, type of crime committed, gender, age, education level, marital status, and other characteristics that may have positive or negative impacts on an offenders ability to reenter the outside world successfully (Ibid.). C. Standard Operating Procedures



typical reentry program operates in one of three fashions, often in a phased approach: I) institutional or in-penal programs, II) structured reentry or transitional treatment programs (in-penal work-release or specialized programs), and/or III) community-based reintegration programs (Taxman et al., 2004). In essence, each phase is designed to help ease the stark transition from structured living in an institution to societal re-assimilation (See Figure 2). Phase I usually consists of institutional assistance, to the degree that it is offered. This includes intake and classification, usually to determine risk and recidivism potential, and ideally places an inmate in a secure, appropriate site or cellblock based on his/her needs. In many penal institutions, programs are initiated during this phase allowing for either educational or 27

vocational advancement through classes and programs.

Phase II

usually consists of more directly effective services, such as actual postrelease planning and counseling. It is typically in Phase II where good time accrued can mean being put in a less secure facility with more privileges, a translatable (to post-release) occupation or work assignment, and less concentration on the physical act of incarceration. Phase II can carry over to the initial stages of post-penal aftercare once an offender has been placed in a community-based rehabilitation facility or program. Phase III focuses on community integration, making every attempt to help the ex-offender find permanent housing, employment, and other necessary resources that must often be sought out rather than simply provided by institutional administrators. Much of Phase III, while taking place in a reentry facility, attempts to teach the ex-offender how to procure such items throughout the transition back into the free world, or achieve independence from the formal case- management process. (Holl and Kolovich, 2009) D. A Private Interest? Even though there is no doubt that innovative reentry is important, it is worth noting that just as with most industries in this nation, there are many people who stand to gain financially by keeping the system the way it is. These beneficiaries are content with the current system, and encourage its growth instead of using evaluations 28

and measurements as an impetus for revolutionizing reentry systems. Such beneficiaries sustain the argument that formal methodology of measuring outcomes may hurt the business they are in. Complicating the politics of prisoner reentry, and therefore its evaluative reporting is the fact that corrections is an incredibly profitable industry. Referred to as the prison-industrial complex, the economy of prisons is a multifaceted operation employing billions of dollars worth of contractors, food services, phone services (a single pay phone in a prison can generate up to $15,000 annually) (Schlosser, 1999), transportation, medical providers, security, and in-house industry and education. The prison-industrial complex is
A set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. The prison-industrial complex is not a conspiracy, guiding the nations criminal justice policy behind closed doors. It is a confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum. (Schlosser, 1999)

In short, the companies and organizations involved in serving the prison community will consistently ensure that they have the raw material needed to run their businessesinmates; the poor, the homeless, and the mentally ill; drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics, and a wide assortment of violent sociopaths, (Ibid.), and therefore appear to have no financial reason to support or measure the systems


shrinkage. While perceived as negative, punitive, and at times barbaric, the prison environment is lucrative to both public and private industries. In the same manner that many United States businesses have either been privatized or outsourced, so have corrections. Among these private firms is the notion that government monopolies such as old-fashioned departments of corrections are inherently wasteful and inefficient, and the private sector, through competition for contracts, can provide much better service at a much lower cost. (Ibid.) Due to factors such as non-union labor and working outside of the confines of governmental restrictions on state and federal facilities, the privatized prison corporations and their partners are in one of the last recession-proof industries in the nation, complete with trade shows, conferences, and a field-specific newsletter on the most current technological and constructional advancements in prisons. Such an industry is also therefore held to a different set of standards when it comes to reporting outcomes. A private corporation may keep its own set of performance measures, indicating how effectively it has executed administrative tasks, rather than recording the number of recidivating inmates. An increase in recidivism is the financial bread and butter of the prison-industrial complex. The prison-industrial complex points to a few relevant conclusions related to reentry performance measurement. First, the


privatization, and therefore unregulated reporting of prison operations is so vast that it is virtually impossible to estimate or capture the amount of money going in and out of private correctional firms; second, prisons are too big of a business to be threatened by the existence of a shrinking population due to effective reentry programs; and third, there is a national desire to continue building and supporting prisons, especially in rural areas, as prisons are among the largest employers of otherwise deindustrialized or economically distressed communities in the nation. It would appear that the large corporations and those reliant on the capital generated from prisons are certainly in no rush to see a reentry system that would eliminate a large percentage of their raw materials.


IV. OUTSTANDING NEEDS OF REENTRY PROGRAMS There is little evidence that research is driving policy, or that policy is driving research. Despite good intentions, each of these fields is moving on rather independent tracks and the gulf between them is still wide Joan Petersilia, Federal Probation, 2005 One of the most astounding features of performance management methodology of reentry programs is the sheer lack of evidence-based practices. Dr. Jeremy Travis of the Urban Institute in New York has mentioned, both in his research and in a conversation from October of 2010, that the absence of recidivism alone is an abysmal determiner of success in reentry programs. Travis asserts that it would be immeasurably difficult to conclusively say that if an offender is released and stays out of prison, yet becomes either homeless, drug-addicted, unemployed, or unhealthy (therefore becoming a burden on taxpayers or community service agencies), that he or she successfully reintegrated into society by the institutional definition of successful reentry (Travis, 2010). Criminal conduct through deterrence and rehabilitation has thus far been measured by recidivism rates, and has long been considered the leading statistical indicator of return on correctional investment, (Pew, 2011) yet the Pew Center also notes that a low recidivism rate does not always reflect the use of sound release preparation and supervision strategies. (Ibid.) While recidivism numbers are an important part of determining the success in some methods of reentry programming, Travis states, it


is far more important to consider the entire continuum of care as an indication of success. This complex challenge is the cause of many voids in collecting concrete evidence-based practices. A. Defining Success The other seemingly simple shortcoming among current reentry programs is that they have no clear definition of success. Because each institution or community service organization has different ways of evaluating what success actually is, paring down the definition is complicated to the point of being non-existent. As Dr. Travis mentions, determining what it means to be corrected in the current corrections system is a highly objective measure. One state might use a persons success to indicate that he or she has not recidivated within one year, while another state might use a measurement of no recidivism within three years to determine an offenders success. While one medical clinic might determine that success means a drug-addicted offender has not returned to drugs, another might determine that a drugaddicted offender who simply has not violated his parole has been successful, and therefore corrected. Success therefore must be determined on a complex basis acknowledging a combination of desired outcomes and baseline outcomes. Upon determination of a definition of success in reentry, identifying relevant performance indicators, measurement and performance management will be important tools to track the success


of reentry programs. In the COMPAS (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, widely used in many state Departments of Corrections) system used upon offender intake, some of these performance indicators include quantitative scoring for variables like substance abuse, financial problems, a history of family crime, antisocial personality, and criminal attitude, all extremely valid and important indicators in the prediction of an offenders ability to succeed in a reentry program. However, there is little association of COMPAS scores and results with post-care planning, a crucial step in the endurance of any aftercare plan. Aftercare performance indicators might include elements such as housing, employment, family reunification, mental and physical health developments, and basic needs procurement, which will be discussed in detail in the Current Evaluations section of this report. Such performance indicators can help pave the way for individualized reentry plans and for maintaining some uniformity in the collection of data among those plans. While the criminal justice system has developed in groundbreaking ways over the past several decades, the widespread underdevelopment of uniform performance measurement techniques could potentially threaten the ability to develop evidence-based practices among reentry programs. The Pew Center on the States agrees that differences in survey methods complicated direct comparisons of national recidivism rates over time. (Pew, 2011)


While in-depth analysis is required to determine what the most appropriate performance measurement tools may be, monitoring program implementation can effectively help illuminate the reasons a program is not achieving desired results. (de Lancer Julnes, 2006) A consistent barrier to the performance management processes is often the costly amount of sophisticated performance measurement systems (Ibid.); however, funders of reentry programs would be wise to protect their billions of dollars worth of investments by instituting a data collection method to capture more specific programmatic results, ensuring the most effective use of their dollars. B. Determining Objectives Considering individual evaluative processes will be a significant achievement for the future of performance measurement of reentry programs as well. Without some formal methodology that truly captures the wide scope of variables that may contribute to successful reentry techniques, the determination of what works will be limited at best. Every piece of literature that has been collected on the topic of reentry ends in a similar fashion: we have begun evaluating in some instances, but the need is so great that often the only useful conclusion has been that more data, research, evaluation and measurements are a significant necessity in the field. There appears to be more literature in the field concluding that more evidence is necessary than literature indicating that the studies conducted thus far


have been accurate, methodologically sound, and agreed upon among scholars. The Pew Center on the States has been conducting research on how best to handle the formerly incarcerated. In 2008, a public safety policy brief was distributed entitled Putting Public Safety First: 13 Strategies for Successful Supervision and Reentry. In this report, different needs and the best way to handle them were discussed in general terms. Even modest techniques may help the nations growing correctional population decrease, but implementation of these techniques is a challenge that aftercare agencies and in-penal planners consistently confront. The first technique listed by the Pew Center on the States was clear: Define success as recidivism reduction and measure performance. The first technique deviates from Dr. Travis poignant observation that recidivism should not be the absolute indication of effectiveness of reentry programs. From the get go, experts appear to have differing opinions of the best ways to define success. Moving forward, it will become more and more important to have scholars and evaluators on the same page in clarifying definitive success. It is significant to note that the Pew Centers 13 strategies are relevant and critical to the future of reentry, regardless of whether or not there has been a consensus on the feasibility of their strategic implementation. Along with the strategy of defining success as recidivism reduction and measuring performance (Ibid.), two other


strategies out of those 13 directly correlate to the importance of reentry evaluation techniques. One of these strategies is to Assess Criminal Risk and Need Factors. This would develop a mutually agreeable system of risk assessment, illustrating the importance of frontloading baseline data to continue developing post-release plans. In other words, use a risk assessment such as COMPAS not just as an intake tool but also to help determine a persons potential success if enrolled in some communitybased diversion or reentry program. A similar post-assessment system could help determine where an offender might be placed and under what circumstances upon release. The documentation of this sort of process would be an immensely fruitful starting point for further establishment of standard evaluation techniques. Another strategy is to Balance Surveillance and Treatment in Case Plans. This strategy points to customizing aftercare programs while tailoring plans to appropriately address individual risk factors. In order to base post-release plans on the various needs of ex-offenders, tracking progress from beginning to end will be imperative, yet tracking mechanisms have not been uniformly identified. Identifying these mechanisms will help set the tone for collecting performance data upon an offenders reintegration. Along with defining these objectives, performance indicators must be identified and systematically monitored.


Still, the Pew Centers techniques are valuable tools for decreasing recidivism. It would appear that while answers (like the techniques listed above) exist to some of the questions regarding programmatic and provisional resources or evidence, the question still exists: What actually works?


V. CURRENT EVALUATIONS AND WHAT (CURRENTLY) WORKS One might ask how offenders can be expected to return to society and make a successful life for themselves without being rehabilitated or appropriately prepared for reentry. Lior Gideon and Hung-En Sung, Rethinking Corrections, 2011 Although several studies have been made to determine which variables are most important in community reintegration, they have been undertaken independently and largely unrelated to each other. It is interesting to note that while, particularly in the case of Holl and Kolovich, programs have been evaluated in the realm of performance measurement and management, studies to determine how programmatic elements of reentry programs play a role in the reentry process are inconclusive. Such elements should be treated as performance indicators, helping to identify the positives and negatives of reentry programming. For example, while we know that reentry programs have a higher likelihood of keeping an individual from recidivating, we have little concept of the benefits a technical training program has versus a GED or high school equivalency program, and in what specific ways these programs help or hinder the reentry process.

A. Measurement Tools Identifying best practices and best tools has yet to occur, largely because experts in this field have not agreed upon a mechanism for formulating outcomes. In other words, many of the individuals tasked


with judging the progress of reentry programs have lacked the ability to turn the qualitative data into quantitative data. Determination of these qualitative-to-quantitative mechanisms will help ensure that data is being captured and examined in some uniform manner. Authors Stephen J. Bahr, Lish Harris, James K. Fisher and Anita Harker Armstrong wrote a piece titled Successful Reentry: What Differentiates Successful and Unsuccessful Parolees? in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology in 2010, which got to the heart of many effective measurement tools in the industry. The authors examined 51 parolees upon their release from prison to determine what are the most helpful variables to consider in effective reentry programs.
Using the life course perspective as a guide, we chose to examine how structured activities and associations were associated with reentry success. Specifically, we hypothesized that drug treatment, peer associations, employment, age, marriage or cohabitation, and parenthood would be associated with parole success. (Bahr et al. p. 674).

The authors checked in with their test group intermittently for three years post-release. The one-, three- and six-month interviews comprised quantitative questions regarding criminal, drug, work, and social history, as well as background and future plans. Each measure was tracked throughout the reentry process, and the findings reported that 55 percent of the test group completed parole and was


discharged, whereas 20 percent went back to prison, and 25 percent remained on parole. The authors rigorous analysis included binary logistic regression models including different impactful indicators like number of times incarcerated, gender, substance abuse education attainment, family ties etc. The evidence suggested that family connections are beneficial in the outcomes of ex-offenders, as are friendship/personal connections, and drug treatment or substance abuse classes, which simultaneously provide skills, motivation, and support when utilized. More studies like this one are crucial to the development of standard evaluation techniques to determine under what circumstances the different variables are most effective, and what makes the variables so different based on the individual in question. B. Reentry Barriers as Performance Indicators In the reentry field, there are several elements or variables (often observed in post-release planning) that are generally agreed upon as risk factors or performance indicators. Each of these elements has a unique impact on the success or failure of reentry programs and on the individuals taking part in them. As the study of reentry evaluation methods moves forward, it will become increasingly important to evaluate each aspect of reentry programming in order to determine which elements affect reentry in positive, measurable ways.


Employment. Possibly the most damaging or opportune element of reentry is having a job. The critical need for both financial stability and a routine has a large impact on a persons motivation to stay out of detention. Two of the most well respected clearinghouses of information on reentry practices and models, the Urban Institute and the Pew Center on the States, agree that a lack of gainful employment is the largest barrier to successful community reintegration. The Urban Institutes comprehensive study entitled Returning Home examined state-by-state the impact of both governmental and community-based reentry strategies on an individuals progress reintegrating back into his or her neighborhood. The Urban Institute noted that levels of employment was a predictor of reductions in drug dealing, violent crime, and property crime. (Baer, et al., 2006) Also, while each respondent felt that the employment component of reentry planning was one of the most crucial, only one in five of the respondents had a job lined up upon release (Ibid.). Studies show that while finding and maintaining a job is important, a 10-hour-a-week minimum-wage job provides only a minor impetus to stay out of prison. In discussing these employment-based barriers, researcher Mindy S. Tarlow (citing Mukamal, 2000) notes that
[T]he absence of employment is a consistent factor in recidivism and parole or probation violationsIn New York State, labor statistics show that 89percent of formerly


incarcerated people who violate the terms of their probation or parole are unemployed at the time of violation. Further research suggests that one year after release, up to 60percent of former inmates are not employed. (Tarlow, 2011).

History of employment is another complicated topic among the offender population. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 21 and 38 percent of the incarcerated population reported having no job prior to their arrests (Harlow, 2003). Inmates in this category also report personal income at less than $1,000 in the month prior to their arrest (Solomon, Johnson, Travis & McBride, 2004). While few employers hire individuals with criminal records (especially in any skilled labor capacity), it is also worthwhile to note that while the necessity for financial stability is one of the most significant reasons to be gainfully employed, many individuals coming out of detention require a reliable daily routine as well which functions as a transitional coping mechanism for going from a super-structured and predictable environment to the free world. An unstable adjustment can lead to the threatening notion that life was easier on the inside.

Education. The incarcerated population is collectively the least educated segment of society, with GED attainment of less than 32 percent for state inmates upon imprisonment (Gideon and Sung, 2011). It would appear that generally, the higher the educational attainment is per individual, the lower the chances are of a correctional


commitment (Ibid.). Because of the resounding need for both educational and vocational training programs in-house, such programs are amongst the most important opportunities offered. While the field still lacks data on the elements of reentry planning and how best to handle the prerelease population, there is encouraging evidence to determine that education programs in prison do have positive effects on reentry results (Gaes, 2008). Education not only plays a role in the professional development of ex-offenders, it also is a morale-boosting mechanism of personal growth. Every state and federal detention institution in the country has some kind of educational program, even if it is only a GED or high school equivalency program. However, as scholar Georgen Guerrero notes (citing Cecil, Drapkin, MacKenzie & Hickman, 2000) in Rethinking Corrections, it has been questioned whether GEDs reduce recidivism after release. As society becomes more educated, the GED may not help inmates reach the level of achievement they desire. Additionally, prisoners who have been able to complete at least one year of college-level educational instruction are less likely to both recommit crimes and violate parole than those who do not participate in post-GED education (Ross & Richards, 2002).

Family Reunification. A widely agreed-upon notion regarding the release of inmates from detention is the importance that families and loved ones have on successful reentry. The Urban Institute reports


that family support is positively influential in predicting post-release employment and recidivism. Those scoring high on family support

scales pre-release were less likely to be reconvicted (LaVigne, Visher and Castro, 2004). Having a sibling, parent or spouse to return to once an inmate is released can improve the chances of the individual staying out of prison immensely due to both prosocial interactions and having an effective network of supporters. More than 55 percent of the incarcerated population has at least one minor child (Baer et al., 2006). As the number of parents in detention increases, so does the number of children left without a mother or father on the outside. One in every 14 African American children, or roughly 7 percent of the African American youth population has a parent in state or federal prison. As a whole, incarcerated males are fathers to 1.2 million children (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001). Having an incarcerated relative can be damaging to all family members involved. A number of studies have conclusively determine that children of offenders are far more likely than other children to be arrested or incarcerated (Ibid.). The parental presence in the lives of children is further complicated by the legal obstacles that occur, particularly with women, upon incarceration. For instance, in 1997, the Adoption and Safe Families Act was passed, mandating that the termination of parental rights shall take place once a child has been under foster care supervision for 15 of the past 22 months. According to the Urban


Institute, women convicted of a crime serve on average 18 months in prison, which often results in their children being placed elsewhere and in many cases makes it impossible for a mother to reunite with her child or children upon release (Ibid.). There is also a fairly large detrimental effect on the spouses, parents, siblings and/or children, including financial, emotional, and social challenges, when a loved one is imprisoned. Many ex-offenders would simply not get the support they need upon release by returning to certain loved ones. For example, an offenders chances of a healthy reintegration could be weakened by moving back in with a brother or sister who may have a substance abuse problem or criminal tendencies. The delicate balance of needing both support and a fresh start are often complicated by returning to the environment where criminal behavior may have been cultivated, posing a legitimate threat of recidivism.

Housing. A disproportionately high rate of homelessness among exoffenders has been one of the most critical factors in determining the success of releasees. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has collected a wide range of information on how ex-offenders fare in securing postrelease housing. A key finding indicates that among the prisoners released by the end of 1999, 12 percent had reported being homeless at the time of their incarceration (Roman and Travis, 2004).


Additionally, while nine percent of state prison inmates reported being homeless within the year prior to their arrest, 20 percent of mentally ill inmates reported being homeless in the year prior to their arrest (Ibid.). The Urban Institute reports that roughly a tenth of the population becoming incarcerated has been recently homeless and likely will end up homeless upon release. Among the complications that must be considered regarding ex-offender housing are the stringent regulations posed by correctional departments that limit many offender housing options. For instance, conditions of parole often prohibit cohabitation of an ex-offender with any other exoffender on parole, probation, or with a criminal background (Ibid.). Considering that many ex-offenders are returning to neighborhoods where the environment or community members may have facilitated some of their criminal behaviors, such a challenge has been an overwhelming cause of homelessness among released offenders. As a microcosmic sample of the relationship ex-offenders have with homelessness, the California Department of Corrections has stated that at any given time 10 percent of the states parolees are classifiably homeless (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001).

Substance Abuse. Many health issues that come about in prison are due to the wide range of illegal or addictive substance abuse both in and out of detention. While one in eight state prisoners is involved in


substance abuse counseling, this represents only 80 percent of those inmates who truly need it (Petersilia, 2005). More than half of state prisoners committed the crime that resulted in their incarceration while on drugs or alcohol (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001). However, while there have been mixed results in research to determine whether or not in-penal drug treatment programs are effective, the consensus is that drug users who complete comprehensive drug treatment programs are significantly less likely to recidivate (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001; Seiter and Kadela 2003), particularly when paired with aftercare in a community setting. Interestingly enough, Joan Petersilia mentions that
[the] gap between need and active substance abuse treatment is explained in part by the courts repeated rejection of a constitutional right to substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation in correctional settings, so long as prison officials are not deliberately indifferent to a prisoners serious medical needs. (Petersilia, 2005).

Mental and Physical Health Challenges. There is an overwhelming disconnect between the treatment needed and the treatment provided in correctional settings, and in turn, community-based programs. While the general public believes that inmates are in a good situation as far as medical care is concerned, since inmates have a constitutional right to medical care, the health disparities between the penal population and the general population are staggering. The


Urban Institute reports that

The overall rate of confirmed AIDS cases among inmates was five times the rate found in the general population (0.55 percent versus 0.10 percent, respectively). In 1997, 2.2 percent of state prisoners tested HIV positive, a rate five to seven times greater than that in general population. And 18 percent of the inmate population were infected with hepatitis C, nine to ten times the rate of the general population. (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001).

The prevalence of many sexually transmitted diseases in prisons has been a major cause of concern, which can often be attributed to inpenal sexual relations, violence or conduct among inmates. Crowded living situations and intravenous drug usage can compound the communication of STDs as well (Petersilia, 2003). Complicating these illnesses further is the fact that while three-quarters of correctional institutions make recommendations for HIV-related aftercare, less than one-third of these institutions actually help set up an appointment for releasees with community providers (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001).

In addition to physical ailments among inmates, mental and emotional ailments pose an even more challenging problem. One in ten prisoners is receiving psychotropic medications to treat their conditions, which represents only 60 percent of those who truly need them (Petersilia, 2005). It is reported that inmates have mental disabilities two to four times higher than the general population, and that between 8 and 16 percent of the prison population has a single or 49

comorbid diagnosis requiring psychiatric services (Ibid.). It is important to note that while medical care is required within detention centers, incarceration effectively disqualifies inmates from Medicaid eligibility for several months after release (Baer et al., 2006). Upon release, up to three-quarters of the Urban Institutes Returning Home study participants maintained that they would need help securing health care (Ibid.).

Transportation. Commonly cited as one of the largest barriers to gainful employment is the lack of transportation in both major metropolitan areas and in rural communities. Either public or private transportation is not unreliable, inconvenient, or simply too expensive. Ex-offenders have noted that beyond the difficulties experienced finding and keeping a job, a lack of transportation can also result in a lack of access to much needed, oftentimes prescribed, social and community services (Baer, et al., 2006). In the Returning Home survey, more than a third of the respondents reported having difficulty obtaining a car for work or emergencies and nearly a quarter reported various difficulties accessing public transportation. (Ibid.) Unreliable transportation can cause an ex-offender to miss doctors or parole appointments, limit contact with friends and loved ones, or miss classes and training opportunities. Access and proximity to necessary resources is also a common problem, and there appears to be a


considerable disparity among the geographical distribution of many of these resources (Mellow, Schlager and Caplan, 2008).

Basic Needs Procurement. One of the smaller but still considerable challenges to reentry is the lack of identification: a drivers license, social security card, or other form of identification. In fact, the evaluation by Holl and Kolovich of the 30 pilot programs indicated that a lack of formal identification was among the top three challenges noted by case managers. (Holl and Kolovich, 2009). Legal assistance has been integrated into some reentry programs, and it appears that many ex-offenders would benefit from further legal counsel in regards to their current situations. (Ibid.)

C. What Do These Indicate? With positive, effective reentry models in place, prisoners who return to the community with support systems in place can become productive members of society, thus saving resources, strengthening family and community ties, and expanding the labor force and economy. (Solomon, Johnson, Travis and McBride, 2004) Programs that integrate the elements listed above into reentry planning have had a perceived improvement on the success of individuals participating in reentry programs. While the limited research conducted has shown that the effective facilitation of these elements


can help an ex-offender into a safe reintegration, there is still little evidence that any of these elements have been examined as they relate to program outcomes for the individual or that any of these elements were studied on the same scale as each other or in the same scope of definitive success. For instance, reporting that substance abuse treatment can potentially keep someone out of incarceration is little more than speculation due to the lack of statistical evidence in the majority of studies (Seiter and Kadela, 2003). Additionally, since many of these elements are evaluated in separate environments and under quite different circumstances, it is a major challenge to determine which performance measurement tool, based on which particular element, has been the most successful or productive in the measurement of potential recidivism rates. An important distinction to make is the existence of selfreporting in much of the reentry literature and research, especially the research conducted based on qualitative or narrative questioning. A significant issue in much of the research on reentry programs is the lack of reliability of self-reports. A common challenge with issues such as substance abuse or mental health treatment, researchers Holl and Kolovich attest, is that much of the data on both in-penal and postpenal drug use is likely not properly captured and therefore invalid. Many individuals tend to underreport negative behaviors and habits, particularly in the presence of reentry program representatives for fear


of repercussion, criminal sanctions, or other negative outcomes. Without accurate testing and retesting, it is difficult to determine not only what works, but what might be a potential best practice. The indicators discussed here can determine a variety of outcomes and performance measures. If each indicator were considered to be either beneficial or detrimental to an ex-offenders safe and sustained ability to stay out of criminal supervision, evaluators might have a simpler method for determining where to concentrate resources and gather information. For instance, if a testing module could conclude that an individual has a higher chance of sustaining post-release life through a confluence of employment and education upon release rather than a confluence of family reunification and housing, individualized plans might result in more definitive evaluations and measurements (Figure 3). Each indicator should be
Figure scored based on its ability to be a positive, effective influence in the

reentry process, and of course, determining potential risk factors throughout the collection of data.


D. Effective Evaluation Models In 2003, Richard Seiter and Karen Kadela wrote for The Journal of Crime and Delinquency an article entitled Prisoner Reentry: What Works, What Does Not, and What Is Promising as a discussion of the current best practices of a variety of reentry programs. Using the Maryland Scale of Scientific Method, the authors discussed their data collection from reentry programs by determining the effectiveness of various programmatic elements. Upon determination of the criteria qualifying a reentry program, the authors decided that any of the studies to be included in a what works or what does not work frame had to show a statistical significance indicating either that the intervention was or was not successful by a tangible variation. Statistical significance serves as a valid delineation of effectiveness and importance. Seiter and Kadela found the lack of statistical significance in many of the testing modules examined was discouraging. Of three sampled studies, which compared offenders who completed a work-release program against offenders who served their time exclusively under penal detention, there was no statistically significant


difference in their likelihood of being rearrested, though the workrelease participants were noted to be somewhat less likely to recidivate. (Seiter and Kadela, 2003) While this appears to qualify as promising in the field of reentry according to Seiter and Kadela, these are
programs for which the level of certainty from available evidence is too low to support generalizable conclusions. However, there is some empirical basis for predicting that further research could support such conclusions, such as programs that are found effective in at least oneevaluation and the preponderance of the remaining evidence supports that conclusion. (Ibid.)

It is crucial to determine which factors of a work-release program are most effective. For instance, it is unclear whether success is achieved by way of experience, education, or the moral support received throughout work-release assignments. Many of these factors need individual consideration and evaluation to determine their effectiveness, just as the specific performance indicators require. E. Project Greenlight Evaluation An experimental program called Project Greenlight was expertly evaluated by scholars James A. Wilson and Robert C. Davis. Developed in New York City, the program model of Project Greenlight was analyzed in detail.
[Project Greenlight] was designed to provide participants with intensive transitional services of relatively short duration in the eight-week period immediately before they were released. The


program largely attempted to improve post-release outcomes by (1) incorporating an intensive multimodal treatment regimen during incarceration and (2) providing links to families, community-based service providers, and parole officers after release (although there was no actual community follow-up). A short, intensive intervention like [Project Greenlight] is likely to be attractive to corrections officials and policy makers because of the potential to serve greater numbers of people at a lower cost. (Wilson and Davis, 2006)

Incorporating everything from a step-by-step post-release continuum plan to personal behavior modifications, Project Greenlight was idealon paper. Using the only best practice information available to the researchers, Wilson and Davis utilized the Urban Institutes instruments for client interviews focusing on the different variables of reentry elements, such as housing, employment, and health, among many others. This evaluation was truly a model in its field. The evaluation captured one of the most comprehensive ranges of data available on individual program design. Once the data was collected, the researchers concluded that
both self-report data and parole officer interviews suggest that despite an emphasis on employment, housing, and parole supervision requirements, the intervention failed to significantly impact in any discernable way these key elements of the programs focus. (Ibid., 2006)

Raising an extremely vital question on the elements or characteristics missing from its program design, Project Greenlight set the stage for a new discussion on the efficiency of reentry programs. Due to the results, and because Wilson and Davis research methods 56

were extremely solid, there are data to show that [Project Greenlight] participants did worse than both [comparison groups], and these differences sometimes rise to a level of statistical significance within the relatively short follow-up period. Thus, any positive impact of the intervention did not seem to translate to positive outcomes. (Ibid.) In short, despite the time, energy and dedication that may have been directed towards Project Greenlight, this particular reentry program had adverse effects. Researchers Porporino and Fabiano (2000) note that with higher risk offenders, programming may initially engender more resistance, creating anger, resentment, and frustration at being forced to participate in such programming. (Ibid., 2006). Porporino and Fabiano also note that the operation of the program is a significant source of variability in outcome, and a possibility is that [program] integrity increases the effectiveness of appropriate treatment but renders inappropriate treatment even more criminogenic. (Porporino and Fabiano, 2000). As it relates to the outcomes reported by Wilson and Davis, the researchers argue that the puzzling results of the Project Greenlight study are most likely attributable to poor planningeither poor conceptualization, poor implementation, or poor execution of the actual program. During a time when research showing the fairly large discrepancy between hopeful expectations and realistic outcomes was


somewhat disheartening, the researchers valuably note that when new programs are implemented, alongside the implicit assumption that the program is going to do good, should be an equally strong assumption that the program may be doing harm. (Wilson and Davis, 2006). Through the continuous life cycle of the reentry field, it will be important to consider studies that successfully determine both what works and what truly does not. Additionally, Wilson and Daviss study indicates that determination of the value of different elements of reentry (housing, employment and so on) would help to create more personalized plans of post-penal care and identify more appropriately customized methods of successful reintegration. Seiter and Kadela measure a few of these reentry elements throughout their study, determining outcomes such as the statistical significance of drug treatment programs reducing recidivism only for men. The authors were unable to make a statistically significant determination of program effectiveness for women, citing no difference in recidivism figures between those who participated and those who abstained from treatment. Additionally, in-prison therapeutic communities had a statistically significant impact on recidivism from the six months prior to and the six months after incarceration. The study also concluded that in the test cases, educational programs did not seem to have an effect on the recidivism rates when [graduates were] compared to nongraduates. (Seiter and Kadela,


2003). However, for those individuals who participated in 200 hours or more of educational programs, recidivism rates did seem to be somewhat positively affected. From the evidence presented here, we can state that education programs increase educational achievement scores but do not decrease recidivism, note the authors (Ibid.), and that educational programs are promising at best. (Ibid.)

In evaluating effectiveness of SVORI and sex-offender programs, the authors were able to determine that cognitive behavioral therapy positively impacted recidivism rates by an improvement of 11percent in one program, (Ibid.) whereas in another slightly different program, the results did not demonstrate statistical significance. The authors conclude that it is likely additional research needs to be performed. Halfway houses, if run effectively, were one of the few areas the authors found to have a positive impact on reentry, easing the transition from prison to the community. (Ibid.) The last variable examined by Seiter and Kadela was the effectiveness of prison prerelease programs. Finding only two programs that fit the criteria, the authors were unable to determine that the findings were statistically different; however, the programs did appear to show signs of effectiveness in reentry without being statistically significant. While all of Seiter and Kadelas findings were an extremely


important step in the right direction for reentry evaluation and program assessments, they are by no means complete, and are nearly a decade old. If multiple and similar evaluations could be performed with more rigor, detail and variable examination, such reports would be extremely helpful in filling the information void of reentry program evaluation.


VI. PERFORMANCE MEASURES OF EVALUATION Social programs deserve to be treated as serious attempts at intervention, with possibly toxic effects, so that a science of intervention can prosper. Joan McCord, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2003) As performance management expert Patria de Lancer Julnes explains, It is important to recognize that every evaluation method, including performance management, has its limitations which can only be overcome through use of a combination of methods. (de Lancer Julnes, 2006) The notion of combining different characteristics of performance measurement models is complicated due to a lack of overall performance standards of reentry. With the minimal amount of performance management techniques in the reentry universe, it has been difficult to gauge success in any meaningful way, let alone try to determine a definition for success for such programs. However, certain applications of measuring performance are often called for by a programs grantor with the expectation of receiving some data to support or deny future funding. While grantee programs started without reporting progress, successes or failures, the federal government should have been responsible for incenting the program managers with some sense of urgency behind collecting progress data. Due to this void, the federal governments audit and evaluation of their reentry programs has produced less than desirable results.


A. Office of Justice Programs Audit It seems deplorable that a government entity entrusted with such a large investment would have so little oversight over its actual efficiency. The usage among grantees of reentry program dollars begs the question of why? Why has so much money and time been put into an effort we know nothing about? Interestingly enough, the US Department of Justices Office of the Inspector General released an audit report in July, 2010 to address that very question. The findings of their audit were somewhat astonishing. As grant dollars were disseminated on the Second Chance Acts two precursor programs, the Serious and Violent Offenders Reentry Initiative (SVORI) and the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) (see Holl and Kolovich, 2009) by the Office of Justice Programs, it was found that the grantors data collection methods were lacking. Both SVORI and PRI programs were developed with common objectives in mind: to reduce recidivism by helping released inmates find work and to provide them access to other critical services in their communities. ("Office of Justice Programs Management of Its Offender Reentry Initiatives 1-67). By design, the two programs were meant to target slightly different populations, distinguished by the types of crimes which led to their arrests violent offenses (SVORI) and non-violent offenses (PRI). From 2002-2004, 69 SVORI programs were awarded a collective $116,812,182. From 2006-2008, 63 PRI


programs were awarded a collective $33,721,539. While the SVORI evaluations showed overall negative results in the realm of performance measurement, the PRI programs were either inadequately monitored or lacked supervisory signoff. The grantor determined that only 3 of the 10 PRI grants reviewed were likely to continue to receive funding. (Ibid.) For example, of the selected PRI programs for further evaluation, the following conclusions were made as of December, 2009:

A Florida program in 2006 and 2007 planned to facilitate the successful rehabilitation/reentry of 200 clients per year. Of an initially admitted 3,874 participants, only 6 remained in the program for 12 months after release, a 0.2 percent success rate.

A Colorado program in 2007 and 2008 planned to facilitate the successful rehabilitation/reentry of at least 200 clients per year. Of an initially admitted 180 participants, only 5 remained in the program for 12 months after release in 2007a 3 percent success rates-- and there was apparently no tracking system in place for 2008.

A Texas program in 2006 also planned to facilitate the successful rehabilitation/reentry of 200 clients per year. After admitting only 189 participants, the program had just 10 individuals remaining 12 months after release, a 5 63

percent success rate. Illinois and Washington, DC programs over the course of two years did not track their participants in any way. New York reported that the participant tracking/success rates were n/a.
OJP did not establish an effective system for monitoring the SVORI and PRI grantees to assess whether they were meeting program goals. Our review of OJPs official SVORI grant files identified little to no documentation of grant monitoring activities. Monitoring activities are crucial in identifying grantee progress toward achieving program goals. (Ibid.)

It would appear that while programs have not done an adequate job establishing performance measurement methodologies, neither has their grantor. Without specifying clear desired outcomes, goals, or at least some direction, grantees will see no reason to expend the extra time and money on gathering data that is actually crucial to the future funding of these government and community-based programs. It will be just as important for grantors to value such information in order to make future funding decisions as it is for the programs, who must in turn determine their own effectiveness.
We found that OJP did not adequately define key terms essential for determining whether program goals were met, did not require grantees to identify baseline recidivism rates needed to calculate changes in recidivism, and did not analyze performance measurement data. As a result of these design


flaws, neither OJP nor the OIG [Office of the Inspector General] could definitively determine the effectiveness of OJPs grant programs in reducing recidivism. Additionally, an independent national evaluation of the SVORI grant programs effectiveness concluded that the program had no significant impact on participant recidivism. (Ibid.)

Of the 69 programs that received SVORI grants between 2002 and 2004, ten (awarded $17.9 million collectively) were chosen for evaluation (Ibid.). The auditors of OJP found that about $5.2 million of that awardabout 29 percent--was spent in a questionable manner. Additionally, the level at which both the SVORI and the PRI respondents reported progress was minimal at best. On top of that, deficiencies noted by the auditors on both SVORI and PRI programs included 1) an inconsistent definition for the term recidivism, 2) no stipulation regarding the capturing of baseline recidivism data prior to the start of the program, and 3) a significant delay in both establishing evaluative measures and in receiving completed reports back from the grantees (Ibid.). With such evidence of poor grant dollar usage, it is difficult to determine how the OJP intends to resolve the overwhelming problems cited by this report, or whether OJP has exercised any grant revocation or sanctions among their grantees. The auditor clearly indicates that while the grantees did not properly report their outcomes, the reporting systems were not particularly reliable. For example, OJP created a system of reporting progress through a mechanism called 65

the Grants Management System; yet, the OJP stated in the audit report that the Grants Management System was an inadequate performance measurement collection system. (Ibid.) and also noted that the system cannot perform data analysis functions. (Ibid.). Perhaps such observations about the Grant Management Systems inability to perform the necessary tasks should have been considered prior to the decision to use it. One might assume that while the abysmal collection of data on reentry program performance lies at the feet of program managers and grantees, it is just as important for the grantor, especially in the cases where the grantor is the US government, to imbue a sense of importance and urgency behind the collection of this crucial information. Unless the systems are properly set up to begin with, it is difficult to pinpoint where to place blame for a plethora of failings . The audit report notes a number of very significant programmatic and evaluative shortfalls, including the fact that no performance measures were documented by either the Bureau of Justice OR the grantees for both the 2007 and 2008 PRI programs. Also, The OJP continued to collect grantee data through the Grants Management System with no process in place to assess the performance measurement data being collected. (Ibid.) While the system was revised in April 2008 to stipulate that programmatic and financial reviews should take place roughly every


six months, it is important to note that prior to this revision, OJP did not have a policy that stated how oftenreviews should be conducted. (Ibid.). By June, 2009, a mere 45 reviews out of a possible 264 were submitted by grantees. Of the reviews submitted, 40 percent were deemed incomplete or improperly submitted. As evidenced by the OJP Auditors report, it seems apparent that neither the government nor the grant recipients felt a significant need to collect and report data or outcomes. One example of this shortfall is the absence of any baseline data to support the need for recidivist interventions. Since the OJP did not require grantees to report any recidivism baseline measurements, it was impossible to measure progress. An accurate assessment of reductions in recidivism cannot be conducted without a baseline recidivism rate. (Ibid.) The auditor recommended that OJP update this policy. The auditor also notes that while it can be difficult to collect baseline data, it is possible to do so. (Ibid.) Fortunately, it would appear that OJP has updated some of these standards of evaluative reporting just in time for the Second Chance Act grant. However, it will be a challenge to gather effective data when no SCA measures relate to pre- and post-release services and transition plans, (Ibid.) once again posing a threat to reporting true programmatic outcomes. Furthermore, it will be imperative to institute one single method of data collection rather than periodically picking a


suggested methodology or system which may not hold any weight in determining what qualifies as an evidence-based practice (EBP). B. Risk Assessments The most effective way of measuring the performance or potential risk factors of a reentry program thus far has been regular surveying of individualsbut the survey technique is inherently flawed as the population of ex-offenders has a habit of disappearing upon release or soon after community-based transitional assistance. Just like the evaluation techniques, many performance indicators are based on data from administrative capacitiesthe justice system itself, community service providers, halfway houses and drug treatment centers (LaVigne, Davies, Palmer, and Halberstadt, Appendix A). A new practice is one developed by Dutchess County, New York, which has provided one of the more comprehensive models of performance measurement for the new generation of reentry programs. While the question still exists as to what is being done with the information and/or how its being evaluated, Dutchess Countys survey system gets at the heart of many qualitative issues relating to successful reentry and reintegration into free society (McGahan, Rowland, and Wohr, 2010). In an effort to standardize risk assessments (most commonly used upon inmate intake), a number of different tools have been created to measure risk across the board. Dutchess County


administrators make the very crucial point that, if nothing else, states should at least use a formulaic tool that can be adopted statewide. Since state agencies in New York transitioned to using the 4th Generation COMPAS (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions) tool, one of the goals in Dutchess County is to transition to this system. However, many of these COMPAS-like tools exist for criminal mapping and are associated with different advancement generations (similar to wireless networks, 3G/4G), including COMPSTAT (comparative statistics, created in the New York Police Department) ICAM (Information Collection And Mapping system, widely used in the City of Chicago), LSI-R (Level of Service Inventory Revised, widely used in Canada), and LS/CMI (Level of Service Case Management Inventory, also developed by the LSI-R scholars), and a number of other less-popular measurement tools (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 2010). One of the problems noted with many of these tools is that their efficiency for determining risk is either in-penal or upon release to a halfway house. Rarely are tools identified to determine the needs once an offender has been released to the community besides those tools developed case-by-case or that may be facility- or geographically-specific. If the risk is not assessed, it is increasingly difficult to determine what course of action should be taken to help decrease the documented risk. Dutchess County has helped to cultivate the solution to the


community reintegration challenge by developing a great collaborative model for community reentry called the Dutchess County Jail Transition Program (DCJTP). The model was initiated specifically to help define post-penal supervisory assistance and behavioral improvement for released offenders (See Appendix I). Many questions in the DCJTP form address the formation of individualized strategies, living accommodations and needs, relational associations, educational/vocational planning, clinical/behavioral treatment, and attitude adjustment (McGahan, Rowland, and Wohr, 2010). Asking these behavioral questions about three different periods (before crime, during crime, after crime) helps to identify how the offender feels currently about the above factors, and helps to transition into the kind of thinking that is beneficial for future planning. Moving forward, it will also be important to establish the baseline data called for in the OJP audit. This will involve demonstrating which quantitative variables should be measured, and then determining a system to track the proper data. These quantitative variables should demonstrate the desired benchmarks each participant is expected to achieve. Benchmarking is defined as the process of improving performance by continuously identifying, understanding (studying and analyzing), and adapting outstanding practices and process found inside and outside the organization and implementing the results (Kelessidis, 2000). In the criminal justice system, benchmarking will


help facilitate the determination of tangible progress in reentry.


VII. EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICES, METHODOLOGY & EVALUATION SUGGESTIONS Evidence-based evaluations are central to understanding reintegration issues and the potential of an intensive transitional services intervention for sound correctional policy. Wilson and Davis, Project Greenlight Evaluators Featured in the Evaluation of the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (Holl and Kolovich, 2009) is a prisoner reentry framework that clearly outlines the steps necessary to get an offender into appropriate therapeutic communities. In short, the framework demonstrates that reentry starts at the institution with a structured risk and needs assessment, resulting in individualized services in prison. The next phase involves a structured approach towards reentry, including transition planning and confirmation, followed by transition reassessment and updates. Once those conditions have been satisfied, the offender moves on to the most crucial step of reentry community reintegration. The third phase consists of employment, monitoring, and service provisions within the community (Taxman, Young, and Byrne, 2004). While this has been the most widely implemented system of reentry programs, the monitoring aspect of step three should somehow integrate evaluative techniques into its standard operations. For ex-offenders, the continuum of care must also integrate very specific and individualized measures to ensure success. For instance, an ex-offender who has no familial connections should not rely on a family reunification variable to have any impact on 72

recidivism;, in the same sense, an ex-offender with a bachelors degree should not have the same career attainment variable as someone at a 4th grade reading level. Key components and release activities must be looked at differently on a case-by-case and sometimes an even geographically-tied basis (Conley, Appendix A, 2005). Few systems exist that have truly mastered the qualitative-toquantitative transitions necessary to disseminate information on what is mathematically a best practice. For the systems that have, the reporting is often very focused around one idea or one variable among the pool of variables that can affect an offenders ability to remain out of custody. A. An Evidence-Based Practice A system called IPASS (Inmate Prerelease Assessment) was developed specifically to monitor the progress of drug-dependent (or those with a history of drug dependence) inmates and how they would fare post-release based on common risk factors. Examining the psychometric properties of the IPASS system, researchers David Farabee, Kevin Knight, Bryan Garner and Stacy Calhoun describe different chunks of assessment modules and how they may help predict recidivism outcomes by gathering data from both counselors and clients. The study examined over 200 male inmates from two different treatment programs who were within 90 days of release


through simple unit scoring. Weighting different characteristics in a statistical relevance format, certain variables such as how easy is it to talk to your counselor and how liked by staff is the client helped develop baseline scores to more fully determine risk assessments and outcomes, such as how an ex-offender might fare on the outside. The IPASS system shows promising progress, but the system is very specific and leaves much to still be determined about offender who may not fit the IPASS profile.
Referrals that do not rely on more systematic clinical or actuarial information can dilute the treatment milieu and displace substance abusers who might have derived benefit from treatment had they been correctly identified and referred. As reported elsewhere, providing an intensive level of treatment to offenders with low levels of substance-use and criminalseverity background is an ineffective use of resources. (Farabee et. al, 2007)

While IPASS may be promising, its limited approach fails to capture the range of variables that can help or hinder success on the outside for individuals who did not participate in IPASS and individuals whose most threatening risk factors are factors other than substance abuse. Institutional tools like COMPAS, COMPSTAT, IPASS, and LSI-R can effectively determine a persons likelihood to recidivate to criminal behavior. However, once the risk has been assessed, it should be doubly important to assure that the risks identified have plausible solutions. The tools necessary to foster a successful reentry are very 74

widespread and usually their effectiveness can be determined through qualitative rather than quantitative measurements. However, if a system could be devised that simply quantified instead of qualified these variables, it may be easier to create personalized continuums of post-penal care (Figure 3). Such a tool could also prove useful in identifying what the greatest risk to rehabilitation may be for any given individual. When tests conducted are not repeatable, or are repeatable but with very different results, the significance of such tests is highly questionable. Since there has been little consideration for retesting many of the current hypotheses, the validity of the existing tests is unclear. However, it is important to note that replicability and statistical significance in this type of test can be challenging to address, as the human experience is too complex to be meaningfully reduced to a simple measure of program quality. (de Lancer Julnes, 2006) B. A Best Practice An example of a jurisdiction that has instituted a potential best practice model is Oregon, the state that documented the lowest overall recidivism rate between 1999 and 2004 (Pew, 2011). One of the reasons Oregon has been able to tout this best practice is because the numbers, documented efficiently and effectively, speak for themselves.


A key piece of state legislation, passed with bipartisan support in 2003, affirms the importance of documenting and evaluating practices. Oregons bill, SB 267, required all correctional programs receiving state money to be evidence-based in both design and execution (Ibid.).
In prison, Oregon inmates receive risk and needs assessments at intake, and targeted case management during incarceration, along with detailed transition planning that begins six months before release. In the community, probation officers use a sanctioning grid to impose swift, certain consequences for violations, creating consistency across offenders and from county to county. In both settings, offender programs are anchored in research and continually monitored and updated to optimize their effectiveness. The change in the handling of offenders who violate terms of their supervision was strikingResults of the Pew/ASCA survey confirmed thisonly 5.9 percent of offenders released in 1999 and 3.3 percent of the 2004 cohort were returned to prison on technical violations. (Pew, 2011)

While Oregons model is a promising advancement in reentry evaluative studies, it is still in the beginning stages of development. As the continual monitoring and updates occur to Oregons plan, the programs utilizing this operational procedure will be examined until 2013, when the Senate bill will sunset after careful observation by legislators. At that time, it will be imperative to look at Oregons pioneering of a best practice and determine whether the model should be replicated. With process improvements and performance measurements 76

becoming more common in both the public and private sectors, evaluations are clearly a tremendous benefit to federally funded initiatives. While many of the process improvement mechanisms are costly and complicated, they can demonstrate significant programmatic results. By identifying performance indicators, baseline recidivism, post-reentry recidivism rates, stakeholder interests and best practices, the field could potentially institute a highly robust schema of the most efficient post-release plans of action.


IIX. FUTURE OF PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT IN REENTRY Because few programs are available in prison settings and because the demand for effective programming for inmates remains high, there remain tremendous opportunities for correctional researchers and policy makers alike to explore and test various treatment strategies. Sheldon Zhang et al., Crime and Delinquency (2011) In addition to evaluation models, the accountability tied to each assessment will be one of the most important considerations in performance management moving forward. It has not been evident that any organization or individual would consider itself accountable for the overall progress of reentry programs. It seems only natural that the funder of this wide range of initiatives would bear the brunt of accountability, but the import of accountability has not been captured in full by any grantor. Once accountability is assigned or determined, there will be a significant need to develop and monitor quantitative results that would effectively make the case for a true best practice. Upon determining that best practice, or one recommended system of evaluation based on a hybrid of best practices, implementation and sustainability of the proposed measures will be crucial to the future of performance measurement of reentry programs. A. Performance Measurement as Evaluation An overarching challenge in this process is inevitable bureaucratic pushback, and the notion that things are fine the way they are. With respect to performance measures, it is said that while they do not drive decisions, [performance measures] are important


and somehow influence action. (de Lancer Julnes, 2006). However, agencies have become fearful of accountability for outcomes of programs. Managers at all levels have fears that they set nice goals but [cannot] achieve them. The fears about performance measurement and accountabilityare real. (Ibid.) In the reentry universe, this fear of accountability is further compounded by the good intentions of an overwhelmed system. So what is there to do? The bleak outlook of current reentry progress is complicated by a lack of support, a lack of awareness, and the lack of foresight to value and measure outcomes. Communities themselves play a very significant role with respect to communitybased rehabilitation reentry models and are a very significant factor in successful, stable, healthy reentry. Perhaps reentry evaluation techniques might be most appropriately administered in communities to which offenders return upon release. Community transitions must be evaluated with the same import as a government-funded system, as community and social programs deserve to be treated as serious attempts at intervention, with possibly toxic effects, so that a science of intervention can prosper. (McCord, 2003)
There is some research evidence that suggests that the frequent removal and reentry of offenders to and from disadvantaged communities further weakens social capital and informal social controls, resulting in less community safety. (Braga, Piehl and Hureau, 2009)

Since community characteristics can play a large role in the 79

success or failure of reentry programs (LaVigne and Mamalian, 2005), must be considered vis a vis the previously mentioned plethora of issues attached to reentry.. Location obviously has a large impact on many ex-offenders, and should be examined during the critical 3month period of post-release reentry efforts. A 2008 study was conducted by Emory University in partnership with the Urban Institute and the Annie E. Casey Foundation focusing on reentry. Prisoner Reentry in Atlanta: Understanding the Challenges of Transition from Prison to Community articulates the importance, at least in this location, of following a 3-pronged course of action to further determine the efficiency of reentry programs:


Understanding the ecology of reentry, that is, to explore in more detail how the dynamics of the prisoner reentry issue in the greater Atlanta area has changed over time, (Rich et al. 2008)


Mapping assets for reentry, that is, to compile a comprehensive listing of reentry service providers (Ibid.) which is helpful to all geographic areas, and


Assisting policymakers and service providers, that is, to engage the community and its leaders in changing the face of reentry to create a greater impetus for the evaluation and assessment/improvement of the existing programs (Ibid.). Any successful reentry program must prepare ex-offenders to 80

deal with the most pressing issues of housing, jobs, education, health, familial relationships and interpersonal relationships, obtaining the proper ID/paperwork to move up and out of the system, substance abuse, negative behavior, procuring food, furniture, and transportation along with many other basic needs customized toward each individual continuum of care and safety (Travis, Solomon, and Waul, 2001). Moreover, these models must document and measure their outcomes and progress in an evaluative format to ensure a productive return on investment.


IX. CONCLUSION The aim of any prison should be its own elimination. Jose Solis Jordan, Former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner When a person dabbling in up-and-coming investments decides to put his or her money behind a company, project, initiative, or cause, the person will usually do research to determine the best way to proceeddo I buy because of the history of the organization, my connection with the organization, or because of what the organization says it will do? Regardless of the reason, a smart investor at least tenuously tracks his or her investment, making sure that what he or she agreed to fund is in fact being funded properly and should result in the outcomes the investor expected to see. If the investment was in excess of $33 billion, it seems only natural that a funder would track the progress in very standardized and effective ways, particularly if it involved taxpayer dollars. Strangely enough, this does not appear to be the attitude that the federal government has taken towards prisoner reentry. What the public sees are quick fixes, an inexorable cycle of throwing money at processes that are not working in the hopes that enough investment will fill in the mysterious holes outsiders cannot see. If officials only viewed reentry as an investmentand as nothing elsethis system would be in better shape than it is presently. If we had only measured trends of recidivating criminal populations and incarceration over the


last five decades, our current programs would not be so cursory. They would be securely beneficial, tried and true, changing this system for the better, illuminating evidence-based practices that help people change their lives. From what has been examined in this report, there is a clear indication that performance measurement has a ways to go in reentry programming. However, also evident in this report is that there have been attempts to measure progress thus far, yet there is no other professional competency that would be willing to accept a single study on a single element as fact without rigorous retesting. Pressing concerns of evaluation quality in this field should not be taken lightly testing has begun, but for all intents and purposes, it is still in the beginning stages. As the government begins to move more funds into reentry programming and criminal justice diversion programs, it will be imperative to collect all existing data from baseline to end results. Without a full continuum of both evaluation and performance improvements, the stagnant progress of determining best practices in reentry will be as elusive as the population being targeted. In any other industry, investment accountability is not taken lightly. If we, the taxpayers, are the financial support that the government requires to continue providing reentry services to at-risk populations, we as funders deserve a transparent reporting mechanism to ensure that we are doing more good than harm. As public


administrators, we have the right to hold the funders of such massive initiatives accountable for their progress. In order to gauge this progress, performance measurement must be instituted more effectively. Since performance measurement, so defined, came to be the tool for addressing accountability (de Lancer Julnes, 2006), it is only reasonable that data collection be a mechanism through which progress, and therefore accountability can be determined. Holding the government accountable for the uncontrolled spending of reentry dollars is an administrative task that requires leadership, courage, and willingness to transition from qualitative generalizations to quantitative results. When this tremendous problem is translated into human results, it is imperative to note that over 95 percent of individuals incarcerated will be released to the communities from where they came (Travis, Solomon and Waul, 2001). As Dr. Travis explains, reentry is inevitablesuccessful reentry is simply an afterthought (Travis, 2010). Since this population will be released, many with no legal responsibility to check back in with parole or probation officers, we must ensure for the safety and security of our neighborhoods that, at the very least, reentry programs do more good than harm. Until we have empirically and statistically proven this hypothesis, our execution of reentry practices will not mature in any consistent or pragmatic way. Prison only works in the crude sense that criminals cannot commit crimes against the rest of us, at least while they are in jail. When 84

they come out, they are more likely to commit crimes than they were before they went in. So, unless sentences are so long that they cancel out the effect of prison in preparing criminals for a life of crime, prison does the opposite of working. John Rentoul, The Independent (2006)


X. Works Cited and References

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Rich, Michael, Michael Leo Owens, Moshe Haspel, Sam Marie Engle. Prisoner Reentry in Atlanta: Understanding the Challenges of Transition from Prison to Community. Atlanta, GA: Emory University Office of University-Community Partnerships, December 2008. Ross, Jeffery Ian, and Stephen C. Richards. Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books (Penguin Publishing), 2009. Print. Seiter, Richard P., and Karen R. Kadela. Prisoner Reentry: What Works, What Does Not, and What Is Promising. Crime and Delinquency. 49. (2003): 360-388. Solomon, Amy, Jesse Jannetta, Brian Elderbroom, Laura Winterfield, and Jenny W.L. Osborne. Putting Public safety First: 13 Strategies for Successful Supervision and Reentry. Public Safety Policy Brief 7, Pew Center on the States. (2008): 1-4. Web. 10 November 2010. <htt p: // w ww. pe w pu bl i c safe ty. org >. Solomon, Amy L., Gillian L. Thomson, Sinead Keegan. Prisoner Reentry in Michigan. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center, October 2004. Solomon, Amy L., Kelly Dedel Johnson, Jeremy Travis, and Elizabeth C. McBride. " From Prison to Work: The Employment Dimensions of Prisoner Reentry." Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. (2004): 1-32. Print. statistical significance. The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 19 Feb. 2011. < significance>. Taxman, Faye, Doug Young and James Byrne. With Eyes Wide Open: Formalizing Community and Social Control Intervention in Offender Reintegration Programs After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration (2004), eds., S Maruna and R. Immarigeon, 233-260. Portland, OR: Willand Publishing Taxman, Faye S., Douglas W. Young, Brian Wiersema, Anne Rhodes, and Suzanne Mitchell. The National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices survey: Multilevel survey methods and procedures. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 32. (2007): 225238. Travis, Jeremy. Telephone Interview by Anna R. Kohn. 26 October 2010. 15 Dec 2010. Travis, Jeremy, Amy L. Solomon, Michelle Waul. From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center, June 2001. Walsh, Tamara. Is Corrections Correcting? An Examination of Prisoner Rehabilitation Policy and Practice in Queensland. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 39.109 (2006): 109-133. Print.


Warren, Jenifer,One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections. Pew Center on the States (2009): Web. 12 November 2010. <ht tp: / /w w w. pew c e nte ront he state s. org/ p ubl i c safe ty >. Willis, Gwenda M., and Randolph C. Grace. Assessment of Community Reintegration Planning for Sex Offenders: Poor Planning Predicts Recidivism. Criminal Justice and Behavior. 36. (2009): 494-511 Zhang, Sheldon X., Robert E.L. Roberts, and Kathryn E. McCollister. Therapeutic Community in a California Prison: Treatment Outcomes After 5 Years. Crime and Delinquency. 57. (2011): 82-101. Print Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level. Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. Web. 15 Dec 2010. <ht tp: / /w w w. urba n. org/ c e nte r/ j pc / j usti c e %2 Dre i nve stme n t/ >. Virginia Community Reentry Program. Office of Community Partnerships. Virginia Department of Social Services. Web. 15 Dec 2010. <ht tp: / /w w w. dss. vi rgi ni a. gov/ c om muni t y/ pri sone r_ree nt ry/ >. Prison Count 2010, State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years Pew Center on the States (2010) 1-9 Web 10 November 2010 <ht tp: / /w w w. pew c e nte ront he state s. org/ p ubl i c safe ty > State of Recidivism, The Revolving Door of Americas Prisons Pew Center on the States (2011) 1-40 Web 15 April 2011 <>



Administrative Segregation: the placement of prisoners in an isolated unit for the safety and security of the institution; solitary confinement. ( Aftercare: the care, treatment, help, or supervision given to persons discharged from an institution (as a hospital or prison) (Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary) ALOS: Average Length of Stay. By diagnostic categories, ALOS is calculated by dividing the number of days stayed (from the date of admission in an in-patient institution) by the number of discharges (including deaths). (European Union Public Health Information System EUphix) Comorbid/Comorbidity: existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition (Merriam Webster) Chronic/Habitual Offender: A person who is convicted and sentenced for crimes over a period of time and even after serving sentences of incarceration, demonstrates a propensity towards future criminal conduct. ( Earliest Possible Release Date: This date applies to offenders on the basis of the prescribed sentence and good time credits. EPRD is based on the assumption that 1. A prisoner never loses any other day of credit, 2. A prisoner never has any more credits restored, 3. A


prisoner stays in the same credit earning status, and 4. A prisoner keeps the same legal status (eg. picks up no new charges or offenses during his or her term). (Ball, Weisberg, and Dansky, Stanford Law School, 9/12/2008, The First 72 Hours of Reentry: Seizing the Moment of Release) Evidence Based Practice: Professional practice based upon the results of previous research; or professional practice based upon known outcomes. (International Dictionary of Adult and Continuing Education) Exonerate/Exoneration: to relieve of a responsibility, obligation, or hardship; to clear from accusation or blame (Merriam Webster) Good Time: A reward that affords inmates the opportunity to reduce the time until their eligibility for release by good behavior in prison. Graduated Sanctions: A graduated sanctions system is a set of integrated intervention strategies designed to operate in unison to enhance accountability, ensure public safety, and reduce recidivism by preventing future delinquent behavior. The term graduated sanctions implies that the penalties for delinquent activity should move from limited interventions to more restrictive (i.e., graduated) penalties according to the severity and nature of the crime. In other words, youth who commit serious and violent offenses should receive more restrictive sentences than youth who commit less serious offenses.


(Babylon Dictionary) Jail: a place of confinement for persons held in lawful custody; specifically: such a place under the jurisdiction of a local government (as a county) for the confinement of persons awaiting trial or those convicted of minor crimes. (Merriam Webster) Prison: a place of confinement especially for lawbreakers; specifically: an institution (as one under state jurisdiction) for confinement of persons convicted of serious crimes. (Merriam Webster) Performance Management: Regular and careful monitoring of program implementation and outcomes (de Lancer Julnes) Prisoner Reentry: the return of inmates back to society; the inevitable consequence of incarceration (The Urban Institute) Recidivism: the act of reengaging in criminal offending despite having been punished (Pew Center on the States) Reintegration: repeated or renewed integration (for instance, an offender readjusting to a noncriminal pattern or community) (Merriam Webster) Supervision: a critical watching and directing (as of activities or a course of action) (Merriam Webster)


GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS BJS Bureau of Justice Statistics CJ Criminal Justice COMPAS Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions COMPSTAT Comparative Statistics DCJTP Dutchess County Jail Transition Program DOJ Department of Justice DOL Department of Labor EBP Evidence-Based Practice GED General Education Development ICAM - Information Collection And Mapping IPASS - Inmate Prerelease Assessment LS/CMI - Level of Service Case Management Inventory LSI-R - Level of Service Inventory Revised MPRI Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative OIG Office of Inspector General OJP Office of Justice Programs PRI Prisoner Reentry Initiative SOP Standard Operating Procedure(s) SCA Second Chance Act STD Sexually Transmitted Disease(s) SVORI Serious and Violent Offenders Reentry Initiative