Lattimore and Visher (2009) conducted a multisite impact evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). The evaluation was not designed to assess the impact of specific services but to determine whether participants who received enhanced reentry programming, as measured by their enrollment in SVORI, had improved postrelease outcomes. The impact evaluation included 16 programs (12 adult and 4 juvenile) located in 14 States: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington. Sites were selected for the study based on a variety of factors, such as geographic targeting, availability of a comparison group, anticipated enrollment, and status of program implementation.
Members of the treatment group were offenders who received SVORI services. The comparison group included prisoners returning to the community who received treatment as usual in their respective States. At two sites (Iowa and Ohio) individuals were randomly assigned to receive SVORI services or standard programming. At the other sites, comparison group members were identified using the site-specific eligibility criteria for SVORI. Propensity score matching technique was used to achieve greater comparability between SVORI and non–SVORI participants.
The study began with a sample that included 1,697 adult males (863 SVORI participants and 834 non–SVORI comparison males), 357 adult females (153 SVORI participants and 204 non–SVORI comparison females), and 337 juvenile males (152 SVORI participants and 185 non–SVORI comparison juvenile males). Juvenile females were ultimately excluded from the study because of the small sample size. Roughly half the male study participants were African American and one third of them white, with an average age of 29 years. Of the female study participants, 44 percent were white and 41 percent African American, with an average age of 31 years. Of the juvenile male study participants, 54 percent were African American, 20 percent were white, and 20 percent Hispanic, with an average age of 17. There were many significant differences between the adult male treatment and comparison groups, but only a few significant differences between the female and juvenile treatment and comparison groups.
Prerelease interviews were conducted with study participants approximately 30 days before release from prison. Follow-up interviews were conducted at 3, 9, and 15 months postrelease. For respondents who were interviewed in a community setting, oral swab drug tests were also conducted at the 3- and 15-month interviews. The postrelease interviews collected data on reentry experiences, housing, employment, family and community integration, substance use, physical and mental health, supervision and criminal history, service needs, and service receipt. In addition, recidivism data was collected from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center and State correctional agencies (including States’ Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Probation and Parole agencies).
The evaluation used an intent-to-treat analysis, meaning the treatment group included individuals who were offered SVORI services but did not actually receive the programming or services. Weighted analyses were used to examine the treatment effects of SVORI program participation on outcome measures.