RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, today announced a partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) to test a promising new approach to facilitate prisoner re-entry. The study—funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), within the U.S. Department of Justice—is a randomized controlled trial of PokketSM, a web-based re-entry planning and management tool developed by Acivilate, Inc.
“This study will provide the first empirical test of the effectiveness and cost savings of Pokket,” said Christine Lindquist, Ph.D., program director at RTI International and principal investigator of the study. “The results of this research will help corrections agencies around the country, many of whom are looking for technological solutions to assist with re-entry planning and facilitate information-sharing among corrections stakeholders, make informed decisions about which solutions to consider.”
The PokketSM app connects justice-involved individuals returning to the community with service agencies to enhance re-entry programming and reduce recidivism. RTI’s study will provide an assessment of Pokket’s impact on recidivism and other re-entry outcomes, along with process and cost components for correctional and community supervision entities.
“Ninety-five percent of all incarcerated individuals will be released from prison and we are focused on making sure their re-entry into the community is successful," said Nicole Sullivan, director, re-entry, programs and services at NC DPS. “This study will help us and other correctional facilities determine the value of new technology like PokketSM as we continue to make the best use of tools and processes for effective, efficient and successful re-entry.”
The study builds on NC DPS’ existing re-entry model, the Re-entry Strategic Transition Engagement Plan, or R-STEP, which was designed to reduce recidivism rates, enhance public safety and strengthen local communities. Taking place in the R-STEP units in five NC DPS correctional facilities, which are key elements in the department’s re-entry initiative, the study will document Pokket’s effectiveness in re-entry and recidivism outcomes.
Specifically, RTI’s study will evaluate Pokket’s implementation, effect on recidivism rates and other re-entry outcomes, and criminal justice savings. It will also measure client engagement in re-entry planning and staff and service-provider collaboration.
“PokketSM assists in the de-institutionalization process by implementing educative principles to gradually transfer autonomy and agency to returning citizens, so they can manage their own lives,” said Louise Wasilewski, CEO of Acivilate, which developed the PokketSM app. “We are pleased to be the subject of this vigorous, independent study on the efficacy of this technology. With Pokket, we know we have the potential to make an enormous impact on recidivism rates and successful re-entry.”