Science of Reentry


Research shows that targeted and effective programs reduce recidivism and public costs for police, courts, incarceration and the victims of crime. The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, but the public investment has not yielded the kind of return that taxpayers deserve.

Properly executed rehabilitation and treatment pro­grams targeted precisely at specific offender groups could reduce recidivism by 10%-30%.  Source: Stopping the Revolving Door: Reform of Community Corrections in Wisconsin, Kate Mize, J. D. Wisconsin Policy Research Institute July 2009.

Reductions in recidivism will be most significant to the extent that services are comprehensively available on a continuum before, during and after incarceration.

The majority of inmates in Wisconsin’s prisons and jails have substance abuse or addiction issues.  There is increasing evidence that a significant percentage of these inmates could be helped to stay clean and sober, as well as reduce the rate of reoffending, through substance abuse treatment and related support services.

There is a growing scientific literature that provides evidence-based practices and principles that reduce recidivism, such as the importance of risk and needs assessment, targeting interventions, enhancing intrinsic motivation, and increasing positive reinforcement.  The more that programs and initiatives can utilize these approaches, the more successful and cost-effective they will be.  Source: Implementing Evidence-Based Practices,  Jan 2010, Authors: Frank Domurad, The Carey Group and Mark Carey, The Carey Group, Editor: Madeline M. Carter, Center for Effective Public Policy.

Using motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral techniques, and other supportive approaches have been shown to reduce criminal and addictive thinking and habits. Source: Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives by Shadd Maruna, American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C. 2001