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The What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse evaluates research studies of programs, practices, or policies that involve people returning to the community from incarceration. Generally, each study relates to at least one of the following broad focus areas.

Focus Areas

Brand Name Programs

At times, particularly innovative or successful reentry programs gain national attention based on their design features and their potential impact on reducing recidivism. These programs are typically well funded and…

Case Management and Comprehensive Programs

Individuals returning to the community from correctional facilities have significant and diverse needs that range from securing safe and affordable housing to identifying viable employment opportunities and accessing substance abuse…

Cognitive Behavioral Treatment

Cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) aims to change individuals’ behavior by addressing their basic thinking patterns. Recognizing that flawed thought patterns and cognitive deficits or distortions can result in criminal behavior, CBT…

Education

In today’s competitive workforce, educational credentials are increasingly important for securing employment, but many people who become confined in correctional facilities have low levels of educational attainment. Recognizing this deficit…

Employment

Individuals returning home from prison often identify employment as the most important factor that helped them stay crime free. While studies have shown that employment can help decrease the likelihood…

Family-Based Programs

Family members play a vital role in the reentry process. Programs focusing on the substance abuse, education, and employment needs of incarcerated individuals have long been regarded as important for…

Housing

Securing housing is one of the most immediate challenges individuals leaving prison face upon their release. Research has shown that the types of living arrangements and neighborhoods to which exiting…

Mental and Physical Health

A significant share of individuals confined in correctional institutions experience severe mental illnesses; of those, many have co-occurring physical health and substance use issues. These individuals do not always receive…

Sex Offender Treatment

Sex offenders returning to the community from incarceration are of utmost concern to practitioners, program administrators, policymakers, and the public due to the harms caused to victims and society when…

Substance Abuse

For people transitioning from incarceration back to their communities, substance abuse is often closely related to their difficulties with housing, employment, and mental health. Research on the effectiveness of various…

Supervision and Sanctions

Criminal justice systems employ a wide range of supervision and sanction mechanisms to reduce recidivism and promote positive outcomes for individuals released back to the community. These take many forms…

Youth Reentry and Aftercare Programs

One of the most critical functions of the juvenile justice system is to ensure that youth placed out of home successfully reintegrate back into their communities when they are released…