Recidivism Reduction Research

Recidivism Reduction Research

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1147-3.ch003
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Since 2009, more than 840 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government and nonprofit agencies, and taxpayers have paid nearly 700 million dollars in Second Chance grants. Additionally, $154 million has been spent on probation and parole supervision agencies and staff through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. Yet, our probation and parole population continue growing! Given the amount of money taxpayers have invested in programs, it seems nothing works. In the 20th century, it was assumed that the use of randomized and control-group research designs and complex statistical analysis and state-of-the-art computer software would be sufficient to find what “works.” But, we have not yet found what “works.” This chapter asks two questions: 1) Is it the case that “nothing works”? or 2) Is it the case that our research methods can't measure what “works”?
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Second Chance Grant Award Types

Figure 1 reveals that, since 2009, more than 840 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles (NRRC, 2019).

Figure 1.

Second chance act awards by grant program

Source: National Reentry Resource Center (2019)

Table 1 indicates that of the 966 study participants (or 63%) were randomly assigned to the program group and 606 or (37%) to the control group.

Table 1.
Second chance grant jurisdictions and research participants

Source: D’Amico, Geckeler, & Kim (2017, p. 5)

Table 2 indicates that more than 40% of Second Chance Grant participants were re-arrested and almost 50% were reincarcerated and there were NO differences between Second Chance Grant participants and control group participants (D’Amico, Geckeler, & Kim, 2017, p. 57).

Table 2.
Second chance grant program and control group re-arrest

Source: Alper, M., Durose, M. R., & Markman, J. (2018).

Table 3 indicates that, since 2009, taxpayers have paid nearly 700 million dollars for Second Chance grant programs (NRRC, 2019).

Table 3.
Amount of federal funding for second chance

Source: National Reentry Resource Center. (2018)

Since 2010, more than half of the states have engaged in The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a public-private partnership between the Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Harvell et al. 2016).

Table 4 indicates that nineteen states have invested $156 million pay for community-based treatment and services and twelve states have invested $154 million to pay for community supervision (Welsh-Loveman & Harvell, 2018, pp. 2–3, 2018).

Table 4.
Justice reinvestment initiative expenditures

Source: Adapted from Welsh-Loveman & Harvell (2018)

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