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Economic Evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2009
88 pages

An impact evaluation was conducted for 16 programs (12 adult and 4 juvenile programs) that received funding under the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), which focuses on improving criminal justice, employment, education, health, and housing outcomes for released prisoners.


The evaluation findings show that SVORI resulted in more resources being spent on services to serious and violent offenders, both before and after release into the community. For adult men, the greater service costs persisted throughout all three follow-up waves. For South Carolina juveniles under the program, greater service costs occurred before and 3 months after release. Criminal justice costs for the SVORI group were lower than the comparison group 3 months after release, but higher 9 and 15 months after release; however, none of these findings were statistically significant at conventional levels. Estimates of net costs (service costs combined with criminal justice costs) had large confidence intervals, and there was no evidence that net costs for the SVORI group were higher or lower than the comparison group. Additional research is needed in order to further examine the degree to which enhanced reentry programming may be associated with reductions in criminal justice costs. This report suggests using administrative rather than survey data on arrests and reincarceration and expanding the analysis to all of the 16 sites for which reliable data are available. Approximately 2,400 returning prisoners were interviewed using a self-report survey that solicited information on services received, rearrest, and reincarceration. Survey waves were administered approximately 1 month before release and 3, 9, and 15 months after release. Literature and site-specific records provided data on the cost of each service, arrest, and incarceration. The survey and cost data were combined for the analyses. 20 exhibits, 35 references, and appended program descriptions and potential sources of duplication bias

Date Published: December 1, 2009