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Coming Home to Harlem: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2015
124 pages
Using a randomized controlled trial design, this study examined the impact of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court, which is a specialized court whose objective is to reduce the recidivism of persons returning to the Harlem community after release from prison to parole status.

The study found that at 18 months after release, all reported recidivism rates trended lower for reentry court participants (51 percent rearrested) compared with the control group (56 percent rearrested), and many of the differences were statistically significant. Reentry court parolees were also significantly less likely than the control group to be reconvicted within 18 months (29 percent v. 37 percent). Both the reentry court participants and the controls had revocation rates that were historically lower than those reported by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community supervision (DOCCS). Reentry court participants were significantly more likely than controls to report current school enrollment or employment, report income from a job or support from family members, and have a significantly higher score on the overall quality of family relationships. Reentry court participants also had more favorable reports on housing, ongoing needs, mental health, victimization, criminogenic peers, and substance use; however, the differences between the groups in these areas did not reach statistical significance. Randomly assigned parolees were released between June 2010 and February 2013. A total of 504 parolees participated in the study (213 reentry court participants and 291 traditional parole participants). The two groups were similar in criminal history and instant case characteristics. Reentry court elements included pre-release engagement, assessment, and reentry planning; active judicial oversight of parole; coordination of support services; graduated sanctions; and positive incentives for good performance. 24 tables, 4 figures, and appended methodological details and tools

Date Published: October 1, 2015