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Corrections, Reentry, and Community Supervision

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Former US Reps. Announce Federal Corrections Task Force (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Former US Representatives J.C. Watts, Jr. and Alan Mollohan announced the establishment of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections: a nine-person, bipartisan blue-ribbon panel mandated by Congress to examine challenges in the federal corrections system and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. Watts will serve as the Colson Task Force’s chair and Mollohan will serve as its vice-chair.

Posted to Web: December 09, 2014Publication Date: December 09, 2014

Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs: Findings and Recommendations (Research Report)
Janeen Buck Willison, Samuel Bieler, KiDeuk Kim

This study evaluates two of Allegheny County (PA)’s programs to improve the successful reintegration of jail inmates following their return to the community. Both programs were designed to reduce re-offending through the use of risk/needs assessment, coordinated reentry planning, and the use of evidence-based programs and practices. Urban researchers conducted process and outcome evaluations of these programs to answer critical questions about program performance and effectiveness. The process evaluation examined alignment with core correctional practices, while the outcome evaluation examined rearrests for reentry program participants and two comparison groups of offenders (total N=798). Analyses indicate that both reentry programs reduce rearrest and prolong time to rearrest. These findings are supported by ample evidence of strong program implementation.

Posted to Web: October 06, 2014Publication Date: October 06, 2014

Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure (Research Report)
Ryan King, Brian Elderbroom

Improving recidivism data collection and reporting is a critical first step to advancing our knowledge about what works in sentencing and corrections policy. This brief outlines the necessary elements that every state should use when defining, collecting, analyzing, and disseminating recidivism data. It offers a blueprint for gathering a broad range of reoffending indicators, accurately comparing across groups and over time, and using the results to inform decisionmaking and improve outcomes. Improving our ability to accurately track data on reoffending is critical for the next generation of policy-relevant and action-oriented recidivism research.

Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure Webinar

Posted to Web: October 01, 2014Publication Date: October 01, 2014

Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System (Research Report)
KiDeuk Kim, Bryce Peterson

This new Urban Institute study provides an in-depth examination of the growth patterns in the largest correctional system in the United States—the US Bureau of Prisons. The number of prisoners age 50 or older experienced a 330 percent increase from 1994 to 2011. The authors find that the proportion of these older prisoners is expected to have an even steeper growth curve in the near future and they may consume a disproportionately large amount of the federal prison budget. Recommendations for policy and research include expanding data-driven knowledge on older prisoners and developing cost-effective management plans for them.

Posted to Web: September 05, 2014Publication Date: September 05, 2014

Prison Inmates' Prerelease Application for Medicaid: Take-up Rates in Oregon (Research Report)
Kamala Mallik-Kane, Akiva Liberman, Lisa Dubay, Jesse Jannetta

People returning from prison to the community have historically been uninsured, despite having physical and behavioral health problems that may perpetuate a cycle of relapse and reoffending. We describe Oregon's pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) process to enroll released prisoners into its state-financed Medicaid program for childless adults. Sizeable numbers participated, including many with mental health and substance abuse problems. Persons leaving prison were as likely as the general population to submit Medicaid applications and less likely to be denied. Challenges arose when the application process straddled prison release, but the ACA simplifies the process and may increase enrollment efficiency.

Posted to Web: August 05, 2014Publication Date: August 01, 2014

Examining Racial Disparities in the Sixth Judicial District of Iowa’s Probation Revocation Outcomes (Research Report)
Helen Ho, Justin Breaux, Jesse Jannetta, Malinda Lamb

The Urban Institute examined racial disparities in the probation revocation rates in Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District. Black probationers in the study sample were revoked at significantly higher rates than both white and Hispanic probationers. Disparities in revocation outcomes persisted after controlling for available legal and demographic factors. A little over half of the black-white disparity in revocation rates was attributable to group differences in characteristics other than race. This brief situates the study in the context of the SJD’s past efforts addressing disparities in probation processes and outcomes and discusses potential future directions in light of the study findings.

Posted to Web: July 08, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Probation Revocation: Summary Findings and Implications from a Multisite Study (Summary)
Jesse Jannetta, Justin Breaux, Helen Ho, Jeremy Porter

This brief presents summary findings from an Urban Institute study examining the degree of racial and ethnic disparity in probation revocation outcomes and the drivers of that disparity in four diverse probation jurisdictions. Black probationers were revoked at higher rates than white and Hispanic probationers in all study sites. Differences in risk assessment scores and criminal history were major contributors to the black–white disparity. Results for disparity to the disadvantage of Hispanic probationers were mixed. The brief concludes with a discussion of policy implications for probation and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Posted to Web: July 08, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Responding to Racial Disparities in the Multnomah County’s Probation Revocation Outcomes (Research Report)
Justin Breaux, Kimberly Bernard, Helen Ho, Jesse Jannetta

The Urban Institute examined racial disparities in probation revocation rates in Multnomah County, Oregon. Black probationers in the study sample were twice as likely to experience a revocation as were white and Hispanic probationers, although the base rate of revocations was very low for all groups. Disparities in revocation outcomes persisted after controlling for available legal and demographic factors. This brief situates the study in the context of Multnomah County’s past efforts to improve probation practices and address disparities in probation processes and outcomes. It discusses policy implications and future directions for improvement in light of the study findings.

Posted to Web: July 08, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

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