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Program Profile: Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on September 06, 2016

Program Summary

This was a case management program implemented in seven different correctional institutions across Minnesota. The program connected caseworkers in prisons with supervision agents in the communities to which participants return upon release from prison. The program is rated Promising. It significantly reduced recidivism as measured by rearrest, reconviction, technical violation revocation, and reincarceration for any reason, but had no significant impact on new offense reincarceration.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals
The Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Program (MCORP) was a case management program implemented in seven different correctional institutions across Minnesota. The program connected caseworkers in prisons with supervision agents in the communities to which participants return upon release from prison. Participants worked with their prison caseworkers and community supervision agents to develop strategies to prevent recidivism through motivational interviewing and SMART (Small, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) planning strategies. This connection between caseworkers was meant to bridge the gap between prison and release. Additionally, the program aimed to strengthen the relationship between incarcerated individuals and their caseworkers by limiting caseload sizes.
 
Target Population/Eligibility
To be considered eligible for MCORP, individuals must have been committed from one of the five specified counties, incarcerated in one of the seven participating institutions, have had at least 6 months of community supervision left, and not be registered as a sex offender. In addition, they could not participate in one of the other early release programs (such as the Challenge Incarceration Program) or work release, had to be released to regular supervision rather than intensive supervised release, and could not have any detainers, warrants, or holds that would jeopardize participation in MCORP.
 
Services Provided
MCORP created a collaborative relationship between institutional caseworkers and supervision agents in the community. The program included continuous and dynamic case planning/management that lasted from the time individuals were incarcerated until they were released into the community. Specifically, MCORP addressed the following three phases surrounding reentry: institutional, transitional, and community reintegration.

Caseworkers and supervision agents implemented motivational interviewing and SMART planning strategies in conjunction with the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) risk/needs assessment tool to create a transition accountability plan (TAP), which was a guide that outlined participants’ goals while they were incarcerated. Institutional caseworkers included participants’ community supervision agents in the case planning as soon as possible, ensuring continuity during participants’ transition from the institution to the community.
 
To enhance service delivery and improve the transition process, MCORP supervision agents were given smaller caseloads and practiced “inreach,” which they conducted by contacting their clients while they are still incarcerated. Community supervision agents used both the LSI-R and in-person meetings with their incarcerated clients to determine their specific strengths and needs. Supervision agents also connected MCORP participants with services and resources related to employment, vocational training, education, housing, chemical health, mentoring, faith-based programming, and income support.
 
Key Personnel
Institutional case managers and community supervision agents collaborated closely regarding their clients’ progress to ensure continuous and efficient case management/planning.
 
Program Theory
MCORP was based on research that shows that correctional programming, including educational/vocational opportunities and substance abuse treatment, may decrease recidivism (Duwe 2012). Further, social support can deter those who are justice-involved from engaging in future criminal activity (Duwe 2012). By improving case management and planning, MCORP sought to make these services and supports more accessible to those who commit offenses—both during incarceration and upon return to the community.
 
Additional Information
MCORP was a pilot project and is no longer operational.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Rearrest
Duwe (2013) found that participants in Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP) were significantly less likely to be rearrested, compared with the control group. Specifically, participating in MCORP lowered the risk of reconviction by 20 percent.
 
Reconviction
Participants in MCORP were also significantly less likely to be reconvicted, compared with the control group. Specifically, participating in MCORP lowered the risk of reconviction by 21 percent.
 
Revocation (Technical Violation)
Participants in MCORP were also significantly less likely to receive a revocation for a technical violation, compared with the control group. Specifically, participating in MCORP lowered the risk of a technical violation revocation by 25 percent.
 
Reincarceration (New Offense)
There were no significant differences between the MCORP group and control group regarding reincarceration for a new offense.

Reincarceration (Any Reason)
Participants in MCORP were also significantly less likely to be reincarcerated for any reason, compared with the control group. Specifically, participating in MCORP lowered the risk of reincarceration for any reason by 24 percent.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Duwe (2013) conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Program (MCORP) on post-release recidivism outcomes. During the first phase of the pilot program, individuals who qualified for participation were placed in either a treatment or control group 60 days before their scheduled release date. The treatment group was placed into MCORP, while the control group received standard reentry/supervision services or “business as usual.” In the second phase, group assignments were made just after individuals were admitted to a participating correctional facility.
 
A total of 59 percent of the initial study sample (n=1,693) was lost because those individuals were no longer deemed eligible for assignment prior to release for one of three reasons: 1) they were assigned an intensive, supervised release; 2) they were released to a non-MCORP county; or 3) they were selected for early release. The total final sample size was 689 (415 in the treatment group and 274 in the control group).

The two groups were tested for differences on demographic and criminal history characteristics at baseline. The MCORP treatment group was 94.9 percent male, 69.6 percent minority (race/ethnicity was not specific), and the average age at release was 36.1 years. The control group was 90.1 percent male, 76.3 percent minority, with an average age at release of 33.4 years. MCORP participants were more likely to be older, have prior convictions and supervision failures, return to Hennepin County, have a secondary degree at time of release, and have an earlier release date. These significant differences were attributed to the fact that the treatment group was markedly larger than the control group.
 
The primary outcome of interest was recidivism, measured as rearrest, reconviction, new offense reincarceration, technical violation revocation, and reincarceration for any reason. To control for the significant differences between groups, the author used a multivariate Cox regression analysis model. Data for these outcomes was electronically retrieved from administrative sources such as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The follow-up period for all outcomes ranged from 18 to 53 months with an average follow up of approximately 3 years.
 
Finally, one limitation of the study was related to implementation of the original program design. The pilot program differed from the original plan for MCORP. The timing of random assignments differed greatly between the first and second phases of the pilot program. Furthermore, one of the original goals of MCORP was to reduce the number of released individuals assigned to each caseworker as a way to maximize the effectiveness and individualization of case management. Each caseworker was intended to have a caseload of approximately 35 to 40 released individuals; however, in the end, each caseworker had a caseload of 80 to 90. This limitation in the implementation of MCORP could have impacted participant outcomes.

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Cost

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In 2001, the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Program (MCORP) received federal funding from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). Five years later, the program received additional federal funding under the Prisoner Reentry Initiative; a few years afterward, the program received funding under the Second Chance Act (Duwe 2013). MCORP received $2.24 million in state funding for operational costs. Duwe (2013) conducted a cost–benefit analysis of MCORP, assigning a monetary value to offenses based on estimates derived from previously conducted research and then counted the total number of criminal offenses for which the sample group had been convicted. It is estimated that MCORP yielded a return of $1.80 for every dollar spent on the project. It also produced a benefit of roughly $4,300 per participant, reducing costs by about $1.8 million overall.
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Implementation Information

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The implementation of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Program (MCORP) pilot project required a steering committee, a gap analysis to guide the targeting of an offender population, a website to post MCORP materials, and advisory stakeholder groups in each pilot county. Instead of hiring additional staff, MCORP sought to improve correctional practices by reducing caseload sizes for supervision agents and establish community-based employment contracts.
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Other Information

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Duwe (2012) looked at other outcomes related to behaviors targeted by the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Program (MCORP), and found the program significantly increased access to employment, housing, social support, mentoring, restorative justice circles, educational programming in the community, and income support.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Duwe, Grant. 2013. An Evaluation of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP) Pilot Project: Final Report. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Department of Corrections.

https://www.doc.state.mn.us/pages/files/8913/8142/3580/MCORP_Evaluation_Final_DOC_Website.pdf
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Duwe, Grant. 2010. An Evaluation of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP) Pilot Project: Phase 1 Report. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Department of Corrections.

http://www.doc.state.mn.us/pages/files/large-files/Publications/02-10MCORPPhase1EvaluationReport.pdf

Duwe, Grant. 2012. “Evaluating the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP): Results from a Randomized Experiment.” Justice Quarterly 29(3):347–83.


Duwe, Grant. 2014. “A Randomized Experiment of a Prisoner Reentry Program: Updated Results from an Evaluation of the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP).” Criminal Justice Studies 27(2):172–90.

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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Adult Reentry Programs
This practice involves correctional programs that focus on the transition of individuals from prison into the community. Reentry programs involve treatment or services that have been initiated while the individual is in custody and a follow-up component after the individual is released. The practice is rated Promising for reducing recidivism.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Probation/Parole Services, Wraparound/Case Management, Motivational Interviewing

Targeted Population: Prisoners

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center

Researcher:
Grant Duwe
Research Director
Minnesota Department of Corrections
1450 Energy Park Drive Suite 200
St. Paul MN 55108-5219
Email