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Program Profile: Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Reentry Demonstration Programs

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on May 13, 2019

Program Summary

This is a program designed to reduce recidivism and improve employment rates through reentry services for individuals who have a moderate-to-high risk for reoffending. The program is rated No Effects. At the 30-month follow up, there were no statistically significant differences in rearrest, reconviction, reincarceration, or employment rates between program participants and control group members.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals/Program Components
The Second Chance Act (SCA) supports state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. The act was signed into law in 2008, authorizing federal grants for programs and systems reform designed to improve the reentry process. The SCA grants include funding for Adult Reentry Demonstration Programs, which are designed specifically for adults with a moderate-to-high risk for reoffending. These programs use a strategic, holistic approach to facilitate successful reentry through the creation of a reentry task force comprising relevant agencies, service providers, nonprofit organizations, and community members. Participants receive services based on individualized reentry plans that identify prerelease and postrelease needs. Participants typically work with case managers who ensure that these needs are met throughout the transition period (Lindquist et al. 2015; Ritter 2014; Devers 2013a).

Target Population/Services Provided
SCA Adult Reentry Demonstration Programs are designed for individuals who are least 18 years of age; convicted as an adult; were imprisoned in a state, local, or tribal prison or jail; and are classified as at medium or high risk for recidivism. Programs may target a subset of the population such as a specific demographic group (i.e., males only) or specific offenders (i.e., individuals exclusively from jails).

Programs use risk and needs assessments to identify appropriate reentry services for each participant. Most programs predominantly focus on case management; however, education and training, employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, cognitive behavioral therapy, prosocial services, and housing assistance and supportive services are also offered.

Some of the services are provided directly by the programs. Services not offered directly by the program are provided through formal partnerships on a funded fee-for-service basis or through informal partnerships by unfunded referral. Services provided directly by the program are exclusively for SCA participants, whereas formal partnerships prioritize providing services to SCA participants. Informal partnerships, however, are available to both SCA participants and non-SCA participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Rearrests
D’Amico and Kim (2018) found that in the 30 months following random assignment (RA), there was no statistically significant differences in rearrest rates between the Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Demonstrations program group and the control group.

Reconvictions
In the 30 months following RA, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in rates of reconvictions.

Reincarcerations
In the 30 months following RA, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in rates of reincarcerations to jail or prison.

Employment Rate in Quarter 8
In the eighth quarter following RA, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in employment rates.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
The randomized control study by D’Amico and Kim (2018) examined the influence of the Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Reentry Demonstrations programs on recidivism and employment rates for recently released offenders at a 30-month follow up. The study looked at seven of the nine SCA programs implemented with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance FY 2009 grant. The seven grantees included the following state agencies: Kentucky Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and South Dakota Department of Corrections, and the following local agencies: Allegheny County, Pa., Department of Human Services; Marion County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office; San Francisco, Calif., Department of Public Health; and San Mateo County, Calif., Division of Health and Recovery.

The sample comprised 966 individuals, with 606 randomly assigned to the program group (individualized SCA services) and 360 assigned to the control group (services as usual). Participants were randomly assigned either well before or nearer to their release from prison. There were almost no statistically significant differences between the groups on baseline characteristics, except for time worked in the past, which was significantly different for the program group (93 percent), compared with the control group (88.8 percent). The program group was 78.2 percent male, 52 percent white, 31.2 percent African American, 13.2 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 10.2 percent Hispanic, and 2.7 percent Hawaiian Native, Pacific Islander, or Asian. More than half (65.6 percent) were under the age of 30. Twenty-five percent had less than a high school degree or GED, 44.9 percent had their GED, 24.4 percent had their high school diploma, and 5.7 percent had some college. At the time of incarceration, 52.9 percent were not employed. Program participants were incarcerated for violent crimes (19.8 percent), property crimes (34.5 percent), drug crimes (43.9 percent), and public order offenses (26.9 percent).

The control group (n = 360) was 80.1 percent male, 49 percent white, 33.8 percent African American, 15.6 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 9.2 percent Hispanic, and 4.1 percent Hawaiian Native, Pacific Islander, or Asian. More than half (66.1 percent) were under the age of 30. For highest degree attained, 23.2 percent had less than a high school degree or GED, 43.4 percent had their GED, 27.1 percent had their high school diploma, and 6.2 percent had some college. At the time of incarceration, 51.3 percent were not employed. Control group participants were incarcerated for violent crimes (19.5 percent), property crimes (29.9 percent), drug crimes (49.5 percent), and public order offenses (26.9 percent).

The study used data from numerous sources and assessment instruments. Grantees were allowed to choose which assessments they used, and sometimes different instruments were used at different times across sites. Some examples of assessments used include Addiction Severity Index (ASI), Correctional Assessment and Intervention System (CAIS), Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R), Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI), and the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA). Across all sites, all participants completed a Baseline Information Form that collected background and criminal history (e.g., gender, age, race and ethnicity, level of education, employment history, type of crime for which the most recent incarceration occurred, length of sentence). Participants additionally provided identifying information, including a social security number and prison or jail identification number.

The grantee’s management information systems provided data on each participant’s date of SCA enrollment and date of last service and specified the pre- and postrelease services, including substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and employment services. Administrative data from state and local criminal justice agencies provided data on criminal history, from 10 years prior to each individual’s random assignment (RA) date to 30 months post-RA. The National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) provided information for study participants’ employment and earnings following RA. A follow-up survey was completed by 82.2 percent of the program group and 82.6 percent of the control group. The survey covered pre-RA characteristics (e.g., demographics, criminal history); services received since RA, whether from the SCA program or other sources; and outcomes. Outcomes included recidivism (arrests, convictions, and incarcerations), employment (whether worked since RA, whether currently employed, and wages and salary), health status, housing status, family status, substance abuse, fulfillment of child-support obligations, and other topics.

The study used an intent-to-treat approach to compare outcomes for those assigned to the SCA program group with the outcomes for those assigned to the control group. Regression analyses were used to assess the levels of statistical significance in estimating effects. The authors conducted subgroup analyses on gender, age, and risk at the 30-month follow up.
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Cost

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The Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Reentry Demonstration programs were implemented with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance FY 2009 grant. Additional funding was provided in subsequent years, contingent upon the grantees’ participation in the impact study. The seven grantees’ total grant amounts ranged from $1.5 million to $3.25 million in total federal funds. Total costs per new SCA enrollee varied across the grantees; the lowest cost was less than $1,000 per person, and the highest cost was more than $20,000 per person. The highest cost resulted from inpatient substance abuse treatment, with an average cost of $7,000 per person. Case management, the focal service used across grantee programs, cost an average of $2,600 per person. The net cost, or difference between cost for an SCA participant and the cost for a control group participant, was highest for case management, at more than $1,300 per SCA enrollee. The total net service cost was approximately $2,800 per SCA participant (D’Amico and Kim 2018).
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Implementation Information

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The Second Chance Act was signed into law on April 9, 2008. It has since provided more than $475 million in funding for grants and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal government agencies and community organizations to help individuals returning from incarceration, including grants for Adult Reentry Demonstration programs. The funding allowed for the implementation of well-designed, evidence-based programs such as those discussed in this study. However, implementation varies across programs because grantees are given the freedom to 1) tailor their program to a specific population (for example, programs could be targeted to males only), 2) decide what services to offer directly versus indirectly through referral, and 3) decide which assessments to administer (D’Amico and Kim 2018).
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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D’Amico and Kim (2018) conducted subgroup analyses on gender, age, and risk at the 30-month follow up. There were no significant differences between groups based on gender or risk level. For age, there was a statistically significant 12.1 percent difference in the reincarceration rate between Second Chance Act (SCA) and control group members under the age of 30, indicating a higher incidence of reincarceration among younger SCA participants, compared with younger control group participants.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
D’Amico, Ronald, and Hui Kim. 2018. An Evaluation of Seven Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration Programs: Findings at 30 Months. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/251702.pdf
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

D’Amico, Ronald, Christian Geckeler, and Hui Kim. 2017. An Evaluation of Seven Second Chance Act Adult Demonstration Programs: Impact Findings at 18 Months. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/251139.pdf

D’Amico, Ronald, Christian Geckeler, Jennifer Henderson-Frakes, Deborah Kogan, and Tyler Moazed. 2013. Evaluation of the Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration 2009 Grantees, Interim Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/243294.pdf

Devers, Lindsay. 2013a. Second Chance Act—Targeting Offenders with Co-occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Grant Program: Program Performance Report (July 2011–June 2012). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Devers, Lindsay. 2013b. Second Chance Act—Reentry Court Grant Program: Program Performance Report (July 2011-June 2012). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Lindquist, Christine, Janeen Buck Willison, Shelli Rossman, Jennifer Hardison Walters, and Pamela K. Lattimore. 2015. Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration Programs: Implementation Challenges and Lessons Learned. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/251139.pdf

Ritter, Nancy. 2014. “‘Cultural Shift’ is Among Findings of Second Chance Act Evaluation.” NIJ Journal 273:28–34.
http://www.nij.gov/journals/273/pages/second-chance-act-evaluation.aspx

Sachs, Nicole M. and Joel Miller. 2018. “Beyond Responsivity: Client Service Engagement in a Reentry Demonstration Program.” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 62(13):4295-4313
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Noncustodial Employment Programs for Ex-Offenders
This practice involves job training and career development for offenders with a recent criminal record in order to increase employment and reduce recidivism. These programs take place outside of the traditional custodial correctional setting, after offenders are released. The practice is rated No Effects in reducing criminal behavior for participants in noncustodial employment training programs compared with those who did not participate.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types



Adult Reentry Programs
This practice involves correctional programs that focus on the transition of individuals from prison into the community. Reentry programs involve treatment or services that have been initiated while the individual is in custody and a follow-up component after the individual is released. The practice is rated Promising for reducing recidivism.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Aftercare/Reentry, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Probation/Parole Services, Reentry Court, Vocational/Job Training, Wraparound/Case Management

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders, Prisoners, High Risk Offenders