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NIJ Study of Second Chance Act Finds "Cultural Shift" Among Probation and Parole Officers

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
2 pages
Publication Series

This report presents the main findings of an implementation evaluation of 10 demonstration sites charged with implementing the first grants under the 2008 Federal Second Chance Act (SCA), in order to improve services for offenders returning to their communities after serving custodial sentences.


A key finding of this first phase of the evaluation is that agencies at the demonstration sites were beginning to focus less on compliance and monitoring and more on a holistic, rehabilitative model that identifies what each offender needs to have a successful return to the community. Specifically, the evaluation found that SCA funding has facilitated new partnerships between probation/parole agencies and private community-service partners that can assist in meeting various offender needs. Also, services are becoming more "holistic" in their focus on offender needs and challenges related to achieving a positive lifestyle in the community. The evaluation found a greater continuity of services from prerelease to post-release, better training for staff in working with returning offenders, better use of assessments in services planning, more reentry services being delivered, and more time devoted to case management. Although the evaluation has yet to determine what offender outcomes have flowed from this change in the dynamics of reentry management of offenders, at the time of this evaluation the implementation of the intent of SCA funding is happening. Still, improvement could be made in providing housing and mental health services, making assessments gender-specific, and preventing staff turnover. 4 notes

Date Published: April 1, 2014