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The Impact of a Reentry and Aftercare Program on Recidivism

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  • Cannonier, Colin
  • Galloway Burke, Monica
  • Mitchell, Ed

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the impact of a reentry and aftercare service program on the likelihood of returning to prison by ex-offenders. Using administrative data within a difference-in-differences design, we find that this social program is associated with a reduction in recidivism rates. Benchmark estimates show that the program was associated with estimated reductions in the probability of recidivating of 6.0 to 8.7 percentage points. The estimate appears to be economically significant as it implies an estimated treated effect in the 15.8 to 19.2 percent range. We consider the heterogeneous effects of the program on reducing recidivism according to race, age group and program type. The program helped to reduce recidivism among Whites but not Blacks; older participants were the main beneficiaries while the effectiveness of the program was observed amongst older participants. Back-of-the-envelope cost-savings analysis is incorporated to estimate the potential savings to the state arising from the reduction in recidivism rates likely attributable to the program. The findings are robust to sample selection bias, alternative specifications and estimation techniques. Our results offer some implications for the role of faith-based social programs within the context of criminal justice reform to combat reentry of former inmates. They also provide a cautionary tale about the need to evaluate programs not just based on their overall effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Cannonier, Colin & Galloway Burke, Monica & Mitchell, Ed, 2020. "The Impact of a Reentry and Aftercare Program on Recidivism," GLO Discussion Paper Series 732, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:732
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pogorzelski, W. & Wolff, N. & Pan, K.-Y. & Blitz, C.L., 2005. "Behavioral health problems, ex-offender reentry policies, and in "Second Chance Act"," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 95(10), pages 1718-1724.
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    5. King, Gary & Nielsen, Richard, 2019. "Why Propensity Scores Should Not Be Used for Matching," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 435-454, October.
    6. Caterina Roman & Jeremy Travis, 2006. "Where will I sleep tomorrow? Housing, homelessness, and the returning prisoner," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 389-418.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Difference-in-differences; prison; propensity score matching; recidivism; reentry and aftercare programs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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