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Major Study Examines Prisoners and Their Reentry Needs

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 258 Dated: October 2007 Pages: 30-33
Date Published
October 2007
4 pages
Publication Series
This article summarizes key demographics recently reported from an ongoing evaluation of reentry programs under the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), a Federal effort to help States use their correctional resources to reduce reoffending after released inmates return to communities.
The evaluation, which is being funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), has found that just over half of the men in the SVORI group (n=935) are African-American, and nearly one-third are Caucasian. The majority are neither married nor in a steady relationship. The average age of the men is 29. Sixty percent are fathers of minor children, and nearly half reported having primary care responsibilities. Less than two-thirds have completed 12th grade or earned a high school equivalency degree. Nine out of 10 reported having a job at some point in their lives, and nearly two-thirds reported being employed during the 6 months before their incarceration, usually working as laborers, service workers, equipment operators, or skilled craftsmen. Nearly half indicated they had supported themselves partly through illegal activities; more than two-third reported engaging in violence in the 6 months before their incarceration. Eighty-three percent had served prior prison terms. Most had family members and friends who had been convicted of a crime or had problems with drugs and alcohol. The most commonly reported reentry needs were more education, general financial assistance, a driver's license, job training, and employment. Regarding health service, 75 percent mentioned their need for health care insurance, and more than half said they needed medical treatment for an ailment. Over the next 2 years, additional evaluation findings will be released based on interviews with the SVORI group and the comparison group at 3 months, 9 months, and 15 months postrelease. 1 table, 3 notes, and a chart showing participation in SVORI programs

Date Published: October 1, 2007