What works in reentry findings from the svori multi site evaluation
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Christy A. Visher, Ph.D. University of Delaware and The Urban Institute John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prisoner Reentry Institute October 23, 2009. What Works in Reentry: Findings from the SVORI Multi-site Evaluation. Funded by NIJ Grant No. 2004-RE-CX-0002.

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What Works in Reentry: Findings from the SVORI Multi-site Evaluation

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What works in reentry findings from the svori multi site evaluation

Christy A. Visher, Ph.D.

University of Delaware and The Urban Institute

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Prisoner Reentry Institute

October 23, 2009

What Works in Reentry: Findings from theSVORI Multi-site Evaluation

Funded by NIJ Grant No. 2004-RE-CX-0002


Overview

The Serious & Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

The evaluation design and data collection

Findings: Did “it” work?

Challenges finding what works—for programs, for evaluators

Lessons: Takeaways for reentry strategies & evaluations

Overview


So what was the svor initiative

So What Was the SVOR Initiative?

  • In 2002, the US DOJ, DOL, ED, DHUD, and DHHS funded one round of three-year grants for state and local agencies to develop programs to improve criminal justice, employment, education, health, and housing outcomes for released prisoners

  • 69 agencies received Federal funds ($500,000 - $2,000,000) to develop 89 programs that

    • Targeted adult and juvenile populations

    • Incorporated partnerships among state and local agencies to provide comprehensive services to prisoners returning home

    • Were locally designed to meet local needs and organizational capabilities


Svori logic model

SVORI Logic Model


Svori funding came with few requirements

SVORI Funding Came with Few Requirements

  • Unlike many Federal programs, SVORI grants imposed only a few requirements

    • Focus on “seriousandviolent offenders” 35 years of age or younger

    • Address different stages of reentry through services delivered (1) prior to release, (2) post release during supervision, and (3) post supervision

    • Base services on needs and risk assessments

    • Include partnerships among state and local agencies and community and faith-based organizations


So what was a svori program

So…What was a “SVORI Program”?

  • SVORI programs were locally designed to meet local needs & organizational capabilities

  • Most programs used assessments to tailor services & programs for program participants

  • SVORI was not a program in the sense of traditional programs (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy or residential drug treatment)

  • SVORI was a funding stream that agencies used to enhance & expand existing programs or to develop new reentry programs


Evaluation challenge

Evaluation Challenge

“…determine whether the selected programs have accomplished the overall goal of the Reentry Initiative – increasing public safety by reducing recidivism among the populations served by the program – and determine the relative costs and benefits of the program.”


Did svori work

Did SVORI Work?

  • What does that mean?

    • Were agencies able to develop & implement SVORI programs?

    • What did those programs look like?

    • Did program participants receive more services than others?

    • Did program participants have better outcomes?


Svori multi site evaluation

SVORI Multi-site Evaluation

  • Implementation assessment collected multiple waves of survey data from all 89 SVORI program directors, as well as data from program participants & comparison subjects

  • Impact evaluation focused on SVORI participants and non-SVORI comparison subjects in 12 adult programs (11 for adult females) and 4 programs for juvenile males in 14 states

  • Interviews with individuals who entered SVORI programs and were released from prison between July 2004 and November 2005

    • 30 days prior to release

    • 3, 9 and 15 months post release


Svori impact evaluation subjects 12 adult programs 4 juvenile programs

SVORI Impact Evaluation Subjects12 Adult Programs; 4 Juvenile Programs

  • Wave 1 response rate: 86%

  • Wave 2: 58% (Men), 68% (Women), 71% (Boys)

  • Wave 3: 61% (Men), 71% (Women), 72% (Boys)

  • Wave 4: 66% (Men), 77% (Women), 74% (Boys)


Population characteristics 30 days prior to release

Population Characteristics30 Days Prior to Release


Implementation

Implementation

  • SVORI funds resulted in the development of local programs that provided an increase in programs and services for participants…


Characterizing comparing svori programs

Characterizing & ComparingSVORI Programs

  • Coordination & Supervision: risk assessment, needs assessment, treatment/release plan, and (post-release only) supervision

  • Employment/Education/Skills Building: education/GED/ tutoring/literacy, vocational training, employment referral/job placement, resume/interviewing skills, work release, cognitive skills development, life skills

  • Health Services: AA/NA, counseling, comprehensive AOD treatment, mental health, medical, dental, anger mgmt/violence counseling

  • Transition Services: legal, id assistance, benefits assistance, financial support/ emergency assistance, peer support, mentoring, housing, and (post-release only) transportation

  • Family Services: parenting skills, family counseling, family reunification, domestic violence services

Service Bundles


Coordination services receipt men

Coordination Services Receipt: Men

Note: Average bundle scores weighted to compensate for differences between groups.

* p < 0.05.


Service receipt men coordination services bundle

Service Receipt: Men Coordination Services Bundle

  • Needs assessment

  • Case manager

  • Treatment/release plan or help reintegrating

  • P/P supervision (post-release only)

Note: Average bundle scores weighted to compensate for differences between groups.

* p < 0.05.


Selected transition services receipt men

Selected Transition Services Receipt: Men

Note: Average bundle scores weighted to compensate for differences between groups.

* p < 0.05.


Service needs receipt men transitional services bundle

Service Needs & Receipt: Men Transitional Services Bundle

  • Legal

  • Financial

  • Health care

  • Mentoring

  • Employment documents

  • Housing

  • Transportation

  • Driver’s license

  • Clothes/food banks

  • Program/class to prepare for release (prerelease only)

Note: Average bundle scores weighted to compensate for differences between groups.

* p < 0.05.


Employment education skillsbuilding services men

Employment/Education/SkillsBuilding Services: Men

Note: Average bundle scores weighted to compensate for differences between groups.

* p < 0.05.


Service needs receipt men employment education skills bundle

Service Needs & Receipt: Men Employment/Education/Skills Bundle

  • Education/ vocational training

  • Employment services

  • Life skills

  • Personal relationships

  • Change criminal behavior attitudes

  • Money management

Note: Average bundle scores weighted to compensate for differences between groups.

* p < 0.05.


Implementation1

Implementation

  • SVORI funds resulted in the development of local programs that provided an increase in programs and services for participants…according to the SVORI Program Directors.

  • Our impact site respondents confirmed more services for those participating in programs.

  • Self-reported need was similar across sites…self-reported service receipt varied.


Little site variation in needs employment education skills bundle

Little Site Variation in NeedsEmployment/Education/Skills Bundle

Source: Wave 1 interviews with adult males


Much variation in service receipt employment education skills bundle

Much Variation in Service ReceiptEmployment/Education/Skills Bundle

Source: Wave 1 interviews with adult males


Impact did the svori programs make a difference

Impact: Did the SVORI Programs Make A Difference?


Remember the logic model

Remember the Logic Model


Did svori work approach

Did SVORI Work?Approach

  • Overall, our SVORI and non-SVORI groups are similar although there are a few differences

  • Propensity score models were estimated to address observable differences in SVORI & Non-SVORI with respect to assignment to SVORI

  • Propensity score weighted models were estimated to determine effect of SVORI participation on outcomes


Housing independence

Housing Independence


Currently support self with job

Currently Support Self with Job


Job has benefits

Job Has Benefits*

*Benefits = paid leave or health insurance


Job has formal pay

Job Has Formal Pay


No self reported drug use past 30 days

No Self-reported Drug Use Past 30 Days


No self reported drug use past 30 days except marijuana

No Self-reported Drug Use Past 30 Days Except Marijuana


No self reported drug use past 30 days or positive test

No Self-reported Drug Use Past 30 Days or Positive Test


No self reported criminal behavior since last interview

No Self-reported Criminal Behavior Since Last Interview


Recidivism men

Recidivism: Men


Recidivism women

Recidivism: Women


Issues challenges for reentry programs

Issues & Challenges: For Reentry Programs

  • Participant needs are multi-faceted

  • Implementation means identifying, developing, and providing a range of services often in collaboration and cooperation with multiple agencies and organizations—which is difficult

  • Services should be customized to individual participants based on needs and risks—there is no one “program” to be implemented


Issues and challenges for evaluators

Issues and Challenges: For Evaluators

  • Services are customized to individual participants based on needs and risks—there is no one “program” to be evaluated

  • Programs vary from location to location in response to available resources and service providers

  • Characteristics of participants across programs may vary, either because of targeting by administrators or underlying demographic differences in populations


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • SVORI: Ambitious effort to improve integrated, individually targeted services through coordination of state & community agencies & organizations

  • SVORI participants were more likely to report receiving services pre and post release—although at levels far below 100%

  • From release through 15 months post release, SVORI participants are doing better—if only moderately so—across a wide range of outcomes

  • Official measures of recidivism show little difference in arrest & reincarceration rates, although we see

    • slightly lower rearrest rates

    • slightly higher reincarceration rates


Lessons for the field

Lessons for the Field

  • Modest funding focused on improving coordination and developing reentry strategy can result in substantial increases in services.

  • Improvement in services leads to modest gains in outcomes.

  • Incomplete implementation of service components may explain modest outcomes.

  • Critical component: careful, systematic assessment of needs and matching of services

  • Continuity of service delivery!

  • SVORI was first major attempt to develop and deliver systematic reentry strategy.


A cautionary note

A Cautionary Note

“Services can assist the individual in sustaining recovery, but only if the client has the capacity and readiness to constructively utilize those services.”

George De Leon


Post script

Post Script

  • There are no “silver bullets”!

  • Federal funding has been a series of one-time efforts with different foci and population targets since 2001:

    • SVORI (2002) -- DOJ

    • Prisoner Reentry Initiative (2005) -- DOL

    • Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening (2006) -- HHS

    • Second Chance (2009) -- DOJ

  • State funding for corrections has always been small & is now buffeted by budget shortfalls that threaten to eliminate gains in those states that have invested in reentry

  • SVORI was a good start – a place to build


What works in reentry findings from the svori multi site evaluation

www.svori-evaluation.org


For women and juvenile males

For Women and Juvenile Males

  • Levels of self-reported need were similar for the SVORI and non-SVORI groups for both the adult females and the juvenile male subjects

  • Women participating in SVORI programs were much more likely to report receipt of services and substantial differences persisted for many services through the 15-month follow-up interview

  • Juvenile males, overall, reported much higher levels of service receipt than the adults—particularly, pre-release—and there were many fewer differences in the likelihood of service receipt between the SVORI and non-SVORI groups


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