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Applying a Developmental Evaluation Approach to Address Community Safety and Health Challenges of Reintegration Programs in the USA

NCJ Number
Date Published
25 pages

This study applied a developmental evaluation approach to community safety issues and health challenges of reintegration programs in the USA.


To inform the development and evaluation of reintegration processes, researchers conducted interviews with 39 probation/parole officers (POs) and 17 former extremists who had been imprisoned or were on probation. The research team also implemented a survey of 206 federal probation officers and conducted a literature review of the existing evaluations of reintegration programs. Many of the issues that emerged in interviews with probation and parole officers were corroborated by the former extremists. Both sets of respondents highlighted the need to engage mental health practitioners who are equipped to deal with this unique population in reintegration programs. Formers and officers alike emphasized that building rapport and establishing a positive relationship between officers and clients was critical in facilitating a successful probation or parole process. POs also remarked on the lack of specialized risk assessment tools, noting that the standard risk assessment (the Post-Conviction Risk Assessment) was inadequate for overseeing their extremist clients. In interviews, officers believed that recidivism for extremist offenders was higher than the general recidivism rate. While definitive data on recidivism do not exist, recidivism rates for violent extremists, mentioned in the literature thus far, are significantly lower than the rates for ordinary criminals. Additional training for officers handling extremism-related cases may be helpful in assuaging anxiety and promoting a positive relationship between officers and clients. Several themes also emerged in interviews with formers. Some respondents likened their involvement in extremism and the subsequent deradicalization process to being similar to addiction metaphor. Several interviewees also shared their experiences with solitary confinement and the adverse mental health effects caused by this practice. Finally, formers also noted issues with job placement following their release, even with job training, and the difficulties of counterproductive probation conditions.

Date Published: January 1, 2024