Probability of Rearrest
Willison, Bieler, and Kim (2014) found that the Allegheny County Jail-Based Reentry Specialist Program had a statistically significant impact on the probability of future arrests. Program participants had a 10 percent chance of rearrest, compared with a 34 percent chance for the comparison group (a significant difference).
To investigate the effect of the Allegheny County Jail-Based Reentry Specialist Program (Reentry 1), Willison, Bieler, and Kim (2014) used a quasi-experimental design, assessing the program’s impact on recidivism. Data (such as demographics, criminal offending risk scores, and criminal history) was drawn from the Allegheny County administrative database. The Reentry 1 program enrollments were conducted from June 22, 2010 through February 8, 2013, with an evaluation period that took place between September 9, 2012, and August, 2013. Inmates were excluded from Reentry 1 if they had pending charges, were in jail due to technical and out-of-county holds, were probation or parole detainees, and were being held under state or federal supervision requirements. During this period, 341 inmates were served by the program; however, of this group, 25 were declared ineligible after initial program intake and 11 failed to meet the program requirements for participation. As a result, the final number of eligible Reentry 1 participants was 305.
Propensity score matching was conducted to create a balance between the treatment group (participants in Reentry 1) and the comparison group. The matching variables included race, gender, citizenship status, marital status, origin of driver’s license, age, the number of prior arrests, and the inmate’s Proxy Triage Risk screener score. If an individual’s matching score was too high or too low to correspond to another inmate’s score, the inmate was removed from the sample. Following propensity score matching, there were 281 Reentry 1 program participants and 281 matched comparison inmates.
The treatment group was 93 percent male; had a mean age of 31; and was 60 percent black, 39 percent white, and 1 percent other. Additionally, approximately 9 percent of the treatment group was considered low risk, 43 percent considered medium risk, and 48 percent considered high risk. The comparison group was similar on baseline characteristics. The comparison group was 93 percent male; had an average age of 32 and was 61 percent black, 38 percent white, and 1 percent other. Additionally, 10 percent of the comparison group was considered low risk, 35 percent considered medium risk, and 55 percent considered high risk.
Logistic regression and Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to analyze the impact of the Reentry 1 program on the probability of rearrest 90 days, 180 days, and 360 days after release from jail.
Willison, Bieler, and Kim (2014) conducted a fidelity assessment to measure whether the Allegheny County Jail-Based Reentry Specialist Program was implemented as designed. The assessment also identified factors that promoted successful reentry and barriers that hindered reentry. Through the assessment, the researchers were also able to determine whether the program was following the core correctional practices. This information was gathered through more than 40 semi-structured interviews with 60 Allegheny County Jail Collaboration stakeholders, focus groups with both clients and family members, as well as an analysis of 76 case files. The goal of the fidelity assessment was to gather data to inform decisions about potential program modifications. Overall, the assessment found that Reentry 1 was implemented as designed and followed core correctional practices.