Reentry Program and What Makes Them Successful: A Different Approach

Author(s): Savanna Hart

Mentor(s): Janna L Mattson, University Libraries


Reintegration programs are forms of correctional rehabilitation that are used as transition points for people before re-entering society from prison and/or jail. These programs have become an important aspect for successful reentry for prisoners by providing an assortment of resources such as financial assistance and management, employment placement and advising, stable and supervised housing and much more. Due to their importance, research on them has risen to better understand and improve their effectiveness. One such focus has been into measuring how “successful” these programs can be for prisoners and how to improve them. Within these studies and research, the overall focus has just been on the programing itself. There hasn’t been many studies that have looked at this same focus but with the approach of gender or seeing what factors work for specific genders. This proposal offers the question of what factors lead to successful outcomes for male and female offenders in reentry programs?

Video Transcript

hello everyone my name is savanna hart i’m an honors freshman here at george mason university and i’m here to present to you all today my research presentation re-entry programs and what makes them successful a different approach for those of you who may not know re-entry programs are government or privately run facilities and programs that are made to assist offenders to have a smoother transition from their life in prison back into society these programs provide an array of resources for offenders such as financial investment employment placement counseling and much more this transition is often difficult for offenders having to go from a life behind bars to suddenly be thrust back into society with the responsibilities and expectations they need not be able to handle i provided here a few pictures to better depict the experiences and feelings that offenders face when in the reentry process most portrayed feelings of being lost and seeking assistance and help worries of being able to accomplish re-entry and not return back to prison and also the overall feelings of isolation that are felt due to their limitations they face because of their time served as you also see in the left corner i had there’s an image that i drew myself to better show how re-entry programs are supposed to help offenders for many offenders prisons and jails are seen as a revolving door that their life of crime and prison sentences a constant cycle that they aren’t able to break and will never be able to live truly free however re-entry programs are meant to stop this revolving door to better give offenders a second chance in life and be able to turn over a new leaf within their lives with this better understanding of what reentry programs are and through my research the question that i have found to add to the scholarly conversation is what factors lead to successful outcome for male and female offenders in re-entry programs this is a revision from my former question of what is the difference in outcome and design of re-entry programs for male and female offenders this was due to the findings of gender responsive programs however this type of programming was focused for female offenders than male offenders since these re-entry programs were of male dominant for so long due to them being created in a more male dominant population in jail but as the years gone by the gender population has definitely equalized for female offenders and has been now made addressed with gender responsive programming made for them to better suit their needs and have better outcomes within re-entry programs to better understand how i form my question i’ll be talking about the findings that led me to my inquiries the first being on how research within the field was defining the idea of success for the majority most researchers consider recidivism to be the most effective indicator this be the tendency for offender to reoffend however there are some that believe that this does not focus on the full picture these programs aren’t meant to just keep offenders out of jail they’re also meant to improve their lives therefore other indicators have also been shown within the research such as employment rates financial scalability education attainment and so on so on along with this there have also been a focus on barriers that the offenders face and how they’re addressed within the program themselves this has been split into two categories internal and external barriers internal barriers are problems that the offenders personally face when reintegrating these include things such as education financial management substance abuse etc it was important to know that these effectors often affected one another and that they were formed due to the lack of availability and access to resources or even due to the advancements during their time in prisons as for external barriers there are out these are outside forces that affect offenders the most common ones being public opinion and support and funding of reentry programs without the support of communities or the public the lack of understanding and discrimination that offenders can face can negatively affect them during their reintegration and can also be shown to increase reconviction rates along with this the programs themselves must be given the necessary resources in order to fulfill their purpose properly so you might be asking yourself well what benefit comes from your question from my question this would be looking at successfully info factors with more of a focus or lens on gender this would make the results more specific and be useful to make the programs more effective take for instance if email offenders are shown to have less success in areas of financial management than men this could show an indication that a certain aspect of the programming is not working for that population and needs to be addressed to be more effective this conclusion could lead to more questions being asked on what kind of approaches can be taken to the factors of success such as with race or with age basically finding how many how it ways can we make these programs more effective for more people overall improvements can always be made not only for the benefit of these programs but for the betterment and success of these offenders lives thank you so much for listening

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