Exploring Inmate Reentry in a Local Jail Setting

cover_crimedelinq2011_shadowMichael D. White, Jessica Saunders, Christopher Fisher, and Jeff Mellow (2012). “Exploring Inmate Reentry in a Local Jail Setting: Implications for Outreach, Service use, and Recidivism.” Crime and Delinquency, 58(1): 124-146.

Although prisoner reentry has taken center stage in correctional research and policy discussions, there has been little emphasis on reentry among jail populations. This paper examines a jail-based reentry program in New York City that begins while individuals are incarcerated and includes 90 days of post-release services. This article explores these assumptions through an evaluation of a jail-based reentry program in New York City that begins while individuals are incarcerated and includes 90 days of postrelease services. To determine program impact, the authors compare samples of participants with nonparticipants and program completers with noncompleters. The groups are matched using developmental trajectories derived from group-based trajectory modeling, in addition to propensity score matching. Findings show that participants perform no better than nonparticipants over a 1-year follow-up, but those who stay engaged for at least 90 days of postrelease services experience significantly fewer (and slower) returns to jail. The findings regarding program completion are tempered by several methodological concerns, however. The article concludes with a discussion of how the study may offer insights for program implementation and operation with this target population.