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Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative - Interview at the 2009 NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2009
1 page
This video and its transcript cover an interview with Pamela Lattimore at the 2009 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Conference, who discusses the requirements of an effective reentry initiative for serious and violent offenders and notes the inadequacy of current funding provided by the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) in meeting those requirements.
Ms. Lattimore notes that serious and violent offenders reentering the community after incarceration typically have little education, have no skills for the job market, have criminal histories that preclude being hired for good jobs, sometimes have persistent substance abuse problems, and may have an underlying mental illness that is sometimes severe. She compares the treatment of these offenders to that of cancer treatment. We don't completely understand what causes various types of cancer, what determines its severity, what causes it to persist, and why what works with one type of cancer may not work with other types. The key to making progress in treating cancer is patience and persistence, and this is also the case in working with serious and violent offenders. Under the SVORI, Federal funding for relevant programs lasts only 3 years, during which grantees are expected to develop a program, implement it, and then determine whether or not it worked in reducing recidivism in the targeted offender population. This approach to funding is not sufficient given the complexity and intractability of the problem being addressed. Although the current SVORI may provide a foundation to build on, a sustained effort is needed for as long as it takes to make measured progress.

Date Published: June 1, 2009