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Urban Institute (Washington, DC)

"In 2010, an ambitious model for social change emerged in Chicago that aimed to connect detained youth and those at risk for incarceration (“at-risk youth”) to rigorous and engaging arts instruction, infused with social and emotional learning goals. Dubbed the Arts Infusion Initiative, the Chicago Community Trust (“the Trust”) spearheaded and funded this five year, $2.5 million demonstration while earning cooperation from the local detention facility, public school system, community policing office, and community arts program leaders to integrate arts programming into youths’ school and after school environments. Since its launch, the Arts Infusion Initiative has served more than 2,000 youth at an average annual cost of $700 per teen, linking them to high performing arts instruction associated with significant increases in social and emotional learning. This report marks the first large-scale evaluation of the Arts Infusion Initiative which was designed to: (1) assess the degree to which the project, as an emergent model for social change, was achieving its intended purposes and (2) generate actionable information for promoting effective Arts Infusion practices while redirecting those that have been less effective" (p. 3). Six chapters comprise this evaluation: introduction; importance of the Arts Infusion Initiative; components of the Arts Infusion Initiative; evaluation methods; seven key findings; and recommendations for promising practices. Two of the key findings are: Arts Infusion youth participants had statistically significant improvements in their social and emotional learning skills; and Arts Infusion programs were successful in "exposing at-risk youth "to new skills and technologies, providing confidence building experiences that opened their minds to a positive future" (p. 5).

Arts Infusion Initiative, 2010-15 Cover

This study documented the positive impact of drug courts in New York on re-arrest and re-conviction both. If you are looking for ways to implement an effective drug court program or are looking to improve one you already have then you will find some helpful strategies to guide your efforts. This report contains eight chapter following an executive summary: introduction; research design and methodology; profile of drug court participant characteristics; profile of drug court policy characteristics and constructs; the impact of New York State adult drug courts; differential effects based on target population; differential effects based in drug court policies and practices; and conclusions. A few of the key elements in effective drug courts are: be sure to serve a higher-risk population; maximize legal leverage; impose certain sanctions for noncompliance; and use cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based practices (EBPs).

A Statewide Evaluation of New York’s Adult Drug Courts: Identifying Which Policies Work Best Cover

This brief explains why “it is imperative that jurisdictions use an effective case management process that includes a strong community handoff component, particularly at the moment of release, and that ensures continuity of care between in-jail and community-based programs and services … [and] presents the Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) initiative’s approach to case planning and community handoff” (p. 1). Sections of this publication cover: the TJC initiative and model--a triage approach to interventions; the TJC case management approach; TJC case management principles; development of the case plan; referral process—inventorying available programs and services, and creating a seamless referral process; establishing continuity of care—jail “in-reach,” and consistency of programming and services; information sharing; and role of probation/community corrections.

Case Management Strategies for Successful Jail Reentry Cover

This Special Report presents "a description of drug offenders in federal prison, including criminal history, demographics, gun involvement in the offense, and sentence imposed. The report examines each characteristics by type of drug involved in the offense. It also examines demographic information for the entire federally sentenced population and discusses alternative methods for defining drug offenders. Data are from a linked file created with data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and United States Sentencing Commission. Highlights: This study is based on 94,678 offenders in federal prison at fiscal yearend 2012 who were sentenced on a new U.S. district court commitment and whose most serious offense (as classified by the Federal Bureau of Prisons) was a drug offense; Almost all (99.5%) drug offenders in federal prison were serving sentences for drug trafficking; Cocaine (powder or crack) was the primary drug type for more than half (54%) of drug offenders in federal prison; Race of drug offenders varied greatly by drug type. Blacks were 88% of crack cocaine offenders, Hispanics or Latinos were 54% of powder cocaine offenders, and whites were 48% of methamphetamine offenders; [and] More than a third (35%) of drug offenders in federal prison at sentencing, had either no or minimal criminal history."

Drug Offenders in Federal Prisons: Estimates of Characteristics Based on Linked Data Cover

"This report describes the EBDM [Evidence-Based Decision-Making] Phase II technical assistance approach and presents findings and themes from the process evaluation and outcome assessment (conducted from October 2010 to February 2012) of the technical assistance delivered to the seven sites selected under Phase II of the EBDM initiative … The Phase II technical assistance approach sought to facilitate both the Framework’s goals of recidivism reduction and harm reduction. This involved the adoption of well-evaluated principles and practices, while also allowing for some level of adaptation of these principles and practices to other parts of the criminal justice system … Evaluation results offer ample evidence that Phase II training and technical assistance enhanced site capacity in critical areas (i.e., strengthened collaboration, increased EBDM and system knowledge, increased support for EBDM principles and practices, identified change targets, and facilitated strategic planning) essential for successful implementation. Furthermore, stakeholders generally rated the TA positively, giving it high marks on relevance, quality, responsiveness, and utility" (p. VI-VII). This report is divided into five sections: introduction; evaluation approach—design and methods; EBDM Phase II technical assistance approach; examining the broader impact of Phase II--key findings from the evaluation: findings from the process analysis, findings from the cross-wave, cross-site stakeholder survey, agency collaboration, stakeholder engagement and coordination among key leaders, perceived benefits of technical assistance, implementation readiness, level of involvement in EBDM, stakeholder sphere, and summary; and conclusions and implications. The related NIC Evaluation Brief "Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems Initiative" is available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/029768.pdf.

Evaluation of Phase II Technical Assistance for Evidence-Based Decision-Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems Cover

"This study evaluates two of Allegheny County (PA)’s programs to improve the successful reintegration of jail inmates following their return to the community. Both programs were designed to reduce re-offending through the use of risk/needs assessment, coordinated reentry planning, and the use of evidence-based programs and practices." Six sections follow an executive summary: introduction; study design; fidelity assessment findings and implications; impact evaluation analysis and findings; summary of findings; and recommendations and action steps. "There is strong and credible evidence that Allegheny County’s Second Chance Act reentry programs reduce recidivism as measured by rearrest. Findings of program impact are coupled with ample evidence of strong program implementation fidelity and adherence to principles of effective intervention for criminal justice populations" (p. ix).

Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs: Findings and Recommendations cover

"Racial and ethnic disparity is pervasive in the American criminal justice system. This is particularly stark for blacks, who despite constituting just 13 percent of the US population, account for 30 percent of adult probationers, 37 percent of jail inmates, 38 percent of prisoners, and 40 percent of parolees. Such disparities have broad consequences, from impacts on the health and functioning of minority communities to perceptions of the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. There are more probationers than parolees, prisoners, and jail inmates combined. Probation practice and outcomes thus affect the lives of more adults than any other criminal justice sanction. Further, probation supervision represents an important fork in the road for justice-involved individuals, with failure on probation setting a path for more severe sanctioning, particularly incarceration. Disparities in probation revocations could then contribute to disparities in incarceration. Yet, few studies examine racial and ethnic disparities at this decision point. This brief discusses Urban’s study examining the degree of disparity in probation revocation outcomes and the drivers of that disparity" (p. 1). Sections include: key findings—revocation rates for Black probationers are the greatest with risk assessment scores and criminal history being major factors in revocation; findings regarding probation stakeholder perceptions of bias in the criminal justice system, higher revocation rates for Black probationers, disparity observed when controlling for nonracial and non-ethical characteristics, and contributors to disparity; discussion and policy implications; and ten policy recommendations such as committing to monitor disparity, investing in cultural competency training (CCT), utilizing alternatives to revocation, and reexamining risk assessments and their impact on decisionmaking.

Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Probation Revocation Cover

This monograph examines the “current state of education during education and reentry and identifie[s] promising programmatic and policy directions” (p. 3). Parts contained in this publication include: introduction—education, reincarceration, and reentry; the current landscape of education during incarceration and reentry; research on the effectiveness of correctional education; education behind the walls—challenges and opportunities; from classroom to community—education and reentry.

From the Classroom to the Community: Exploring the Role of Education during Incarceration and Reentry Cover

"Performance measurement—establishing metrics for success and assessing results—is a crucial first step in making informed decisions in all areas of government, including criminal justice policy. Understanding the outcomes of funding and policy decisions is critical to improving government performance and providing the best return on taxpayer investments … Recidivism, the most commonly used definition of correctional success, is one example of a performance measure that many states use. Broadly defined as reengaging in criminal behavior after receiving a sanction or intervention, recidivism is an important performance measure for justice agencies and should be at the heart of any effort to evaluate JRI outcomes. Unfortunately, recidivism is most frequently reported as a single, statewide rate, which is too imprecise to draw meaningful conclusions and insufficient for assessing the impact of changes to policy and practice" (p. 2). This brief shows how your agencies can use recidivism data to make better decisions beyond the system-level. The four steps explained are: definition—use multiple measures of success; collection—develop protocols to ensure data are consistent, accurate, and timely; analysis—account for the underlying composition of the population; and dissemination—package the findings to maximize impact and get the results into the hands of decision-makers.

Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure Cover

“States across the country are increasingly seeking cost-effective and evidence-based strategies to enhance public safety and manage their corrections and supervision populations. One such effort emerged in the mid-2000s, when several states experimented with a criminal justice reform effort built on a foundation of bipartisan collaboration and data-driven policy development. This model—justice reinvest-ment—yielded promising results, supporting cost-effective, evidence-based policies projected to generate meaningful savings for states while maintaining a focus on public safety. In response to these early successes, Congress appropriated funds to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to launch the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) in 2010 in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew). The initiative formalized the process and provided both financial support and in-kind technical assistance for states to engage in this work. This report describes the JRI model and the experiences and interim outcomes in 17 participating JRI states: Arkansas, Delaware, Geor¬gia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Caro¬lina, South Dakota, and West Virginia” (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; the JRI Model described; population and cost drivers and responses; projected and preliminary outcomes; reinvestment; challenges; and concluding remarks and implications. The appendix provides case studies of the 17 participating states.

Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report Cover

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