Reentry refers to the transition of offenders from prisons or jails back into the community. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs more than 650,000 people are released from state and federal prisons annually. Another 9 million cycle through local jails. Research by the Bureau of Justice Statistics published in 2006, has shown that more than two-thirds of state prisoners will be rearrested within three years of their release and more than half (56.7%) are re-incarcerated. The number of offenders and the likelihood of their re-incarceration have made reentry a priority for policy makers and criminal justice researchers and practitioners. Breaking the cycle of reoffending and re-incarceration has many important implications for public safety and policy.
High rates of recidivism mean more crime, more victims, and more pressure on an already overburdened criminal justice system. The costs of imprisonment also wreak havoc on state and municipal budgets. In the past 20 years state spending on corrections has grown at a faster rate than nearly any other state budget item. The U.S. now spends more than $85 billion on federal, state, and local corrections. Because reentry intersects with issues of health and housing, education and employment, family, faith, and community well-being, many federal agencies are focusing on the reentry population with initiatives that aim to improve outcomes in each of these areas.