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Using Administrative Data to Prioritize Jail Reentry Services: Findings From the Comprehensive Transition Planning Project

NCJ Number
Qing Wei; Jim Parsons
Date Published
October 2012
8 pages
This research brief describes the results of a partnership between Vera's Substance Use and Mental Health Program (SUMH) and the New York City Department of Correction (DOC).
This research brief describes part of the Comprehensive Transition Planning Project, a collaborative project between the Substance Use and Mental Health Program at the Vera Institute of Justice and the New York City Department of Correction (DOC). One aim was to develop a reliable, low-cost, and easy-to-implement tool that jail officials could use to identify people in jail who would benefit most from access to the system's limited discharge planning resources. That tool, the Service Priority Indicator (SPI) draws information on charge, age, and prior jail admissions to assign everyone entering the jail to one of five service priority levels. A validation of the SPI found that 84 percent of those in the highest service-priority category were re-incarcerated within a year of release compared to 24 percent of those at the lowest service-priority level. The DOC is currently using the SPI to inform its decisions about who gets reentry services, as it implements its new, innovative discharge planning process. This brief provides a discussion of the context and background of the project; presents an overview of the methodology and outcomes; and describes the steps that New York City and other jurisdictions can take as part of comprehensive jail reentry initiatives aimed at reducing recidivism and improving public safety, even with limited resources. 4 figures and 27 endnotes