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Report on the Evaluation of the ComALERT Prisoner Reentry Program

NCJ Number
Erin Jacobs; Bruce Western
Date Published
October 2007
87 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the ComALERT (Community and Law Enforcement Resources Together) program, which provides substance abuse counseling and other treatment, as well as employment and housing services to parolees in Kings County, NY.

The evaluation found that ComALERT clients were 15-percent less likely to be rearrested after 2 years following release from prison compared to a control group with a similar criminal history who did not participate in ComALERT. Clients who graduated from ComALERT were 30-percent less likely to be arrested than those in the comparison group. Survey data showed high employment rates among ComALERT clients and graduates, which was slightly more than twice as high as the control group. Graduates of Com ALERT's Ready Willing and Able program had especially high employment rates. ComALERT clients also reported modestly lower rates of drug and alcohol use than the control group. The evaluators advise that although these program results are promising, a stronger evaluation is need. This future evaluation should involve a random assignment to the program so as to eliminate systematic selection as a source of the difference between the program and comparison groups. The evaluation methodology consisted of an analysis of recidivism among ComALERT clients, which involved a study of rearrest patterns, reconviction, parole violation, and reincarceration. It also involved an analysis of a survey of employment, family life, and drug use among ComALERT clients and a comparison group of Brooklyn parolees. Another source of information was an analysis of unemployment insurance data, which contained earnings and employment information for the survey respondents. 24 tables, 14 figures, and 20 references