The impact of prison reentry services on short-term outcomes: Evidence from a multisite evaluation
Background: Renewed interest in prisoner rehabilitation to improve postrelease outcomes occurred in the 1990s, as policy makers reacted to burgeoning prison populations with calls to facilitate community reintegration and reduce recidivism. In 2003, the Federal government funded grants to implement locally designed reentry programs. Adult programs in 12 states were studied to determine the effects of the reentry programs on multiple outcomes. Research design: A two-stage matching procedure was used to examine the effectiveness of 12 reentry programs for adult males. In the first stage, “intact group matching” was used to identify comparison populations that were similar to program participants. In the second stage, propensity score matching was used to adjust for remaining differences between groups. Propensity score weighted logistic regression was used to examine the impact of reentry program participation on multiple outcomes measured 3 months after release. Subjects and data: The study population was 1,697 adult males released from prisons in 2004–2005. Data consisted of interview data gathered 30 days prior to release and approximately 3 months following release, supplemented by administrative data from state departments of correction and the National Crime Information Center. Results and conclusions: Results suggest programs increased in-prison service receipt and produced modest positive outcomes across multiple domains (employment, housing, and substance use) 3 months after release. Although program participants reported fewer crimes, differences in postrelease arrest and reincarceration were not statistically significant. Incomplete implementation and service receipt by comparison group members may have resulted in insufficient statistical power to identify stronger treatment effects.