U.S. Department of Justice: Innovations in Reentry Initiative: Reducing Recidivism Through Systems Improvement
The Innovations in Reentry Initiative (IRI): Reducing Recidivism Through Systems Improvement aims to provide local jurisdictions and Indian tribes with the resources and training and technical assistance (TTA) necessary to identify assets and gaps in their local reentry systems and to develop capacity and partnerships with other justice agencies to provide services that prevent recidivism, reduce crime, and improve public safety in their jurisdictions.
The overall objective of the IRI is to support the development and implementation of comprehensive and collaborative reentry strategies to reduce recidivism among reentering offenders who are at medium to high risk for recidivating and to improve public safety. Within the context of this initiative, “reentry” is not a specific program, but rather a process that begins when the offender is incarcerated (pre-release) and ends with his or her reintegration into the community (post-release).
This process should provide the offender with appropriate evidence-based services, including reentry planning, that address individual criminogenic needs identified through empirically validated risk and needs assessments. Results from these assessments should also reflect the risk of recidivism for each individual. The reentry plan should reflect specific and ongoing pre-release and post-release needs, and a strategy for ensuring that these needs can be met throughout the duration of the reentry process.
Section 101 of the Second Chance Act outlines the following mandatory requirements that must be satisfied by an applicant in order to be eligible for an Innovations in Reentry Initiative award:
- A reentry strategic plan that describes the jurisdiction’s long-term reentry strategy, including measurable annual and 5-year performance outcomes, relating to the long-term objectives of increasing public safety and reducing recidivism. A specific objective of the plan should be a 50 percent reduction in the rate of recidivism over a 5-year period for offenders served by a program funded through the Innovations in Reentry Initiative.
- A detailed reentry implementation schedule and sustainability plan for the program.
- Documentation that reflects the establishment and ongoing engagement of a reentry task force composed of relevant state, tribal, territorial, or local leaders and representatives of relevant agencies, service providers, nonprofit organizations, and other key stakeholders.
- The task force should examine ways to pool resources and collect data and best practices in reentry from stakeholder agencies and organizations.
- The task force and the strategic planning requirement noted above should provide a key opportunity for local policymakers to work together to identify and address local barriers to effective reentry, including barriers that are policy or procedural in nature (see mandatory requirement 10 below). The applicant must provide certification of the involvement of such agencies and organizations. These partners and participants in the creation of the reentry strategy should include representatives from the fields of public safety, corrections, housing (including partnerships with public housing authorities), homeless services providers, health, education, substance abuse, children and families, victims’ services, employment, and business.
- Discussion of the role of local governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, state or local interagency councils on homelessness, and community stakeholders that will coordinate and collaborate during the planning and implementation of the reentry strategy. Provide for an independent evaluation of reentry programs that include, to the maximum extent possible, random assignment and controlled studies to determine the effectiveness of such programs.
- Evidence of collaboration with state and local government agencies overseeing health, mental health, housing, homeless services, child welfare, education, substance abuse, victims’ services, state child support, and employment services, and with local law enforcement agencies.
- A discussion of the role of state corrections departments, parole and probation agencies, and local jail corrections systems in ensuring successful reentry in their communities. Applications must include letters of support from corrections officials responsible for facilities or offenders to be served through this program.
- Documentation that reflects explicit support of the chief executive officer of the applicant unit of local government or Indian tribe and how this office will remain informed and connected to the activities of the program.
- A description of the evidence-based methods and outcome measures that will be used to evaluate the program and a discussion of how such measures will provide a valid assessment of the impact of the program. The primary objective of the Second Chance Act is to reduce recidivism. Based upon reliable research findings, there are six fundamental strategies of evidence-based correctional practice that are widely accepted as efficacious in reducing future criminal behavior and improving public safety. These six strategies are outlined in Appendix D of the solicitation: Innovations in Reentry Grantees: What Applicants Need to Know to Ensure Your Program is Built on Principles of Effective Practice. Applicants are required to clearly articulate how these evidence-based strategies are integrated into their program design, and how the program will ensure participants take part in evidence-based services and programs that occur both pre-and post-release.
- A description of how the program could be scaled up or broadly replicated if demonstrated to be effective.
- A plan for the analysis of the statutory, regulatory, rules-based, and practice-based hurdles to reintegration of offenders returning from incarceration into the community. (Note: this may be integrated into the strategic planning requirement and guided by the local task force discussed above.)
Priority consideration will be given to applicants that:
- Propose strategies to reduce violent recidivism among high risk offenders being released back into the local jurisdiction who have a history of violence and are identified in concert with local and/or state law enforcement. Applicants must include a description of how this target population will be identified.
- Collaborate and partner with current violence reduction strategies existing in their jurisdictions.
- Focus their programs on geographic areas with a disproportionate population of offenders returning to the community from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities.
Amount: Eight grants of up to $1,000,000 each will be awarded, including up to $200,000 for the initial 12-month planning period and up to $800,000 for the 24-month implementation period. The program period is for 36 months. Applicants are expected to provide a 50% match (50% of the match must be cash, while the remaining 50% can be in-kind).
Eligibility: Units of local government and federally recognized Indian tribal governments. Grants will be awarded in the following two categories:
- Category 1: Units or components of county or local government agencies serving adults.
- Category 2: Units or components of federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native tribes serving adults.
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