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Prisoner Re-Entry

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 3 years, 7 months ago

Front Page / Issue Briefs / Justice, Crime and Public Safety / Prisoner Re-Entry / Overview


Issue Brief


Prisoner Re-Entry - Overview



Goal Statement   one sentence that further defines the topic

  • To maintain, support, and reestablish the social bonds of individuals who have been charged and convicted of criminal offenses. 


Local/State/National Information    additional information on this topic at the local, state, national, global level


Policy Options / Model Programs   link to profiles of specific policies or program models, grouped by type 

  • Workforce Development Approach

  • Reentry Preparation While in Prison Approach
    • Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative: collaborative effort committed to giving prisoners the tools they need to succeed in re-integrating into society. It is administered through a public-private partnership including the Michigan Department of Corrections and other state agencies, Public Policy Associates, Inc., and the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. 
    • See Prisoner Education Issue Brief 
  • Restorative Justice Approach
  • Holistic Approach 
    • Delancey Street Foundation: residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom. 
    • Boaz and Ruth: faith-based non-profit organization that provides life/work skills and re-entry assistance for released prisoners; fosters commercial revitalization for the troubled community of Highland Park; and bridges culturally and economically disparate communities within the Richmond metropolitan area.  
    • Mercer County Division of Youth Services Subcommittee on Prisoner Re-Entry 
    • Rescue Mission of Trenton: non-profit organization that provides relief services to the transient and homeless population. It provides residential addictions treatment, residential services (long-term, drug court, and halfway house), and job development services.  


Glossary of Terms   key words or phrases that the layperson needs to know to understand this issue  


  • Collateral Consequences: are legal disabilities imposed by law as a result of a criminal conviction regardless of whether a convicted individual serves any time incarcerated.[1]  
  • Offender: an individual who violates of transgress a criminal law. [2] One that offends is someone who breaks this law and acquires this title by entering the criminal justice system. 
  • Prison Reentry: the process which includes all supportive, rehabilitative, and mentoring activities and programming conducted to prepare ex-convicts to return safely to the community and to live as law abiding citizens. [3] 
  • Recidivism:  The Second Chance Act, one of the key sources of funding to address prisoner re-entry, defines recidivism as “a return to prison and/or jail with either a new conviction or as the result of a violation of the terms of supervision within 12 months of initial release.” This is an acceptable definition more broadly. The Second Chance Act requires that recidivism be a measure of success in funded programs.[4]

  • Reintegration: can be defined as, "restore to a condition of unity".[5] Within prison reentry this is the level of effort, support, and care that a community offers to an ex-offender (those who express empathy) upon their release to return to the community; the process of returning into the community post incarceration. 

  • Parole: the traditional release of a person from prison, prior to the end of a maximum sentence.[6] Consideration for parole is mainly based on records of good behavior, the level of the threat an offenders poses on society, and their progress of rehabilitation throughout their time in prison. Application for parole is received, reviewed, and decided on by a panel of people who work within the prison system. 

  • Diversion Program: in the criminal justice system is a program run by a police department, court, a district attorney's office, or outside agency designed to enable offenders of criminal law to avoid criminal charges and a criminal record.[1][2] The purposes of diversion are generally thought to include relief to the courts, police department and probation office, better outcomes compared to direct involvement of the court system, and an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program. 

            These requirements may include:[3]

    • Education aimed at preventing future offenses by the offender
    • Restitution to victims of the offense
    • Completion of community service hours
    • Avoiding situations for a specified period of time in the future that may lead to committing another such offense (such as contact with certain people)
  • Vocational Programs: are programs relating to, providing, or undergoing training in a special skill to be pursued in a trade.[7]Often times prison reentry programs offer a variety of vocational job training to better qualify ex-offenders for adequate employment. 
  • Mentor: prison mentoring consist of  influential support, counseling, and motivation towards reaching attainable goals. Mentoring is a unique and valuable volunteer service in prisons. It can often be the foundation for fundamental, positive change. Mentoring is provided so that each inmate will have a positive influence in life and have a positive contact to assist the inmate upon release. Mentoring is intended to enhance personal growth through the sharing of experiences and wisdom and to offer a framework for teaching and modeling values and life skills. Mentoring topics will be geared towards personal growth in ethical behavior and interpersonal relationships.[8] 

  • Treatment: in regards to prison reentry, treatment consists of assisting, aiding, and supporting an offenders full recovery and transition from prison, drug addiction, homelessness. Often times ex-offenders need treatment in more the one category. 

  • Transition: is the period of stage between prison release and community reintegration. Prison reentry efforts focuses highly on the transitional period of ex-offenders back into society by helping to assist and combat the difficulties of being released from prison, dealing with community rejection, stigma, and alienation Since this stage is crucial to determining further successes and opportunities to rehabilitate. 

  • Expungement: removal of an individual's criminal records, allowing the individual to be restored to his or her legal status prior to conviction.[9]




Link to issue page: Prisoner Re-Entry Employment

Related issue briefs: 




  1. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34287.pdf
  2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/offender
  3. Petersilia, 2003
  4. Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative FY 2009 Competitive Grant Announcement, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/09SecondChanceReentrySol.pdf, page 4
  5. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reintegration
  6. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/parole
  7. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vocational
  8. http://www.wakullacivolunteers.org/mentoring.htm
  9. Mauer, Marc and Chesney-Lind, Meda, ed. 2002. Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment. (New York: The New Press, 2002), pp. 21.

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