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Innovations in Reentry Initiative

Reducing Recidivism through Systems Improvements


The Innovations in Reentry Initiative (IRI) seeks to improve the capacity and effectiveness of state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to identify innovative ways to increase the success rates of individuals returning to their communities and reduce the number of crimes committed by those recently returning, which would produce a significant return on investment through an increase in public safety by reduced crimes, lower recidivism rates affecting correctional spending, and taxpayer savings. IRI is part of BJA's Innovations in Public Safety portfolio, also known as the Smart Suite.

At year-end 2016, there were over 2.1 million individuals incarcerated in state or federal prisons or held in local jails. Approximately 95 percent of those incarcerated will be released and return to communities across the nation. A majority of these individuals have needs that, if unaddressed in prison and jail, and after release, may negatively impact their ability to live productive, crime-free lives, thereby impacting the safety of communities nationwide. IRI seeks to improve the capacity and effectiveness of local and tribal jurisdictions to increase the success of those returning to their communities from incarceration.

The overall objective of IRI is to support the development and implementation of comprehensive and collaborative reentry strategies to reduce recidivism among those leaving incarceration who are at medium to high risk for recidivating and to improve public safety. Within the context of this initiative, “reentry” is not a specific program, but rather a process that begins when the individual is incarcerated (pre-release) and ends with his or her reintegration into the community (post-release). This process should provide the individual with appropriate evidence-based services, including reentry planning, that address individual criminogenic needs identified through empirically validated risk and needs assessments. Results from these assessments should also reflect the risk of recidivism for each individual. The reentry plan should reflect specific and ongoing prerelease and post-release needs, and a strategy for ensuring that these needs can be met throughout the duration of the reentry process.

To date, BJA has awarded 150 grants for these reentry initiatives, which have provided pre- and post-release services for more than 60,000 adults. For a list of grantees, visit the Awards section of our site.

Date Created: February 26, 2018