Finding empirically based strategies to facilitate successful community reentry.

Almost all incarcerated individuals reenter the community—most with serious deficits in the competencies needed for successful reintegration. Ultimately, about two-thirds of individuals released from a correctional facility end up back in the justice system. Policymakers and practitioners need successful strategies for prisoner reentry. Empirically based approaches to identify service needs well in advance of release, engage the individual in reentry planning prior to release, and ensure that needed services are provided both during incarceration and after release are needed to improve the trajectories of reentering individuals. Innovative approaches to facilitating prisoner reentry, including technological strategies, are important to identify and test.  

For decades, RTI has been at the forefront of prisoner reentry research and evaluation, having conducted major national evaluations of federally funded reentry initiatives as well as developed and tested reentry interventions at the local and state levels. We have disseminated numerous policy briefs, sharing lessons learned from our research on reentry program implementation and effectiveness, to reentry practitioners and policymakers. Our experts also provide training and technical assistance to help reentry programs improve their own program evaluations and effectively plan for sustainability.

Research Operations Center

Randomized Controlled Trial of a Web-Based Reentry Planning Tool

Technological strategies to engage individuals in their reentry planning and increase the continuity of services prior to and after release hold great promise for reentry programs yet introduce concerns about technology acceptance and usage and, ultimately, effectiveness. Through a randomized controlled trial of an innovative web-based planning tool, Pokket, conducted in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Corrections, RTI is assessing the extent to which the technology is used as intended (by incarcerated individuals, service providers, and corrections staff), the technology’s impact on individuals’ engagement in reentry planning and service provider collaboration, whether reductions in recidivism can be achieved by the technology, and the cost-effectiveness of this technology. This study is the first empirical test of the Pokket tool and will provide critical information for correctional agencies interested in adopting this technology.

Two women and a man work together at RTI's Research Operations Center

Evaluation and Sustainability Training and Technical Assistance

Our experts provide specialized training and technical assistance to reentry programs funded under the Second Chance Act, with a focus on helping grantees improve the rigor of their local evaluations and effectively plan for sustainability. RTI provides customized coaching to Second Chance Act grantees, supports peer-to-peer and group learning through a variety of formats, and produces written tools and resources for grantees focused on various aspects of planning, executing, and leveraging Second Chance Act evaluations to demonstrate program impact in a manner that promotes long-term sustainability.