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Empirically Supported Reentry: Review and Prospects

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: Fall 2009 Pages: 1,2,4,7
Susan L. Clayton, M.S.
Date Published
6 pages
Based on a review of research, this paper provides an overview of the features of offender reentry, release decisionmaking, the provision of supervision and services, and discharge and aftercare.
Offender reentry typically means the process of preparing inmates to transition from incarceration to the community (Mellow et al., 2008). It can be conceptualized as beginning when an inmate enters a correctional facility and ending when that individual is no longer under any form of correctional supervision in the community. This review suggests that reentry services are being widely provided in the United States. If the trend of the past decade continues, such services are likely to be provided to an increasing number of individuals during the late stage of incarceration, the period immediately following release into the community, and the more extended period during which many individuals remain on parole. When reentry services are delivered in a standardized way, such that comparable services are delivered to similar populations, and the results are measured, it is feasible to incorporate the use of empirical research in the investigation of questions regarding what works, in what intensity, over what duration, and at what costs. This review of the published literature on reentry, however, indicates that the provision of reentry services is well ahead of the formal research on the aforementioned questions. To date, research on the reentry process consists largely of studies conducted at a single site, with modest numbers, and using interventions that are often a reflection of local practice preferences rather than empirically tested interventions. This review indicates that the next important step is to integrate the conceptual and practice literature, which is voluminous, with research on the implementation and effects of concepts and practices. Recommendations are offered on the design of such research. 1 table, 3 notes, and 36 references


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