Promising - One study
Date: This profile was posted on May 15, 2017
This program brings together inmates, their families, and other supporters to discuss inmates’ past experiences and future expectations in a mediated session. The session is designed to facilitate communication, understanding, and a plan for reentry to help inmates successfully transition into the community after release. The program is rated Promising. This program was found to significantly reduce rearrest, reconviction, and return to prison for program participants.
Program Goals/Target Population
The Community Mediation Maryland Re-entry Mediation (CMM) program is focused on building strong community relationships to support reentry of inmates into the community after they are released from prison. This program brings together inmates, their families, and other support people to discuss past experiences and future expectations in a mediated session to facilitate communication, understanding, and to help plan for reentry after release. This program targets inmates who request mediation services and who have family members and other community support people agreeing to participate. The overall goal is to help inmates transition back into the community, and reduce rearrests and reconvictions.
From 6 to 12 months before release, community mediation center staff provide inmates with information on CMM, first as a group presentation and followed by one-on-on meetings with each inmate. Inmates can choose to request to mediate with any person “on the outside” who would be important to their release, often family members. CMM staff then contact these individuals and invite them to a mediation in the prison before the inmate’s release. Four screenings are conducted to protect victims and to make sure protective orders are not violated. If these individuals agree to participate in the mediation, then the staff may conduct multiple sessions prior to the inmate’s release.
The intervention is led by an experienced, nonjudgmental mediator who encourages listening, brainstorming, and creative solution building; however, all ideas and solutions come from the participants. Mediation includes open, honest, and sometimes painful discussions about past experiences, conflict resolution, as well as expectations upon release.
This program supports the importance of strong community and social relationships that aid in successful reentry and reduce recidivism. Specifically, the program allows for inmates and family members (and other potential support people) to meet and have a conversation monitored by a nonjudgmental mediator about past experiences (such as feelings of resentment or shame), anxiety about the different expectations everyone brings to the transition, and specific plans to rejoin the community. Reentry mediation creates a safe space before release to address anxiety and conflict management, and rebuild family support, which are shown to be important to successful reentry and to reduce recidivism (Flower, 2013).
Flower (2014) found that participants in the Community Mediation Maryland Re-entry Mediation (CMM) program were significantly less likely to be arrested (45 percent), compared with the CMM control group (58 percent). CMM program were also significantly less likely to be arrested (44 percent) compared with the cohort control group (56 percent).
The results showed that CMM program participants were significantly less likely to be reconvicted (15 percent), compared with the CMM control group (30 percent). CMM program participants were also significantly less likely to be reconvicted (21 percent) compared with the cohort control group (30 percent).
Return to Prison
CMM program participants were significantly less likely to return to prison (32 percent), compared with the CMM control group (44 percent). The outcome could not be reliably calculated for the cohort control group.
Flower (2014) conducted a quasi-experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of the Community Mediation Maryland Re-entry Mediation (CMM) program. This study included a group of 282 inmates who requested and received community mediation, and used propensity score matching to create two comparison groups. The first comparison group (CMM control) was matched to CMM participants from inmates who requested mediation, but for various reasons did not participate; this group totaled 1,018 inmates. A second comparison group (cohort control) was matched to the CMM group from the general prison population from FY 2009 to FY 2013. This group totaled 5,963 inmates. The matching method used resulted in a smaller sample (271 inmates) of the CMM group used in the cohort control analysis than in the CMM control analysis. The study authors state that the CMM Control Group is likely a better matched comparison to the CMM mediation group than the cohort control group, however, findings from both are included.
The treatment group received at least one mediated conversation among inmates, family members, and other community support people, ranging from 1 to 10 mediated sessions (with an average of 1.54 sessions). The comparison groups received no mediation intervention. The participants in the CMM mediation group and CMM control group had an average age of 35 years (ranging from 17 to 69 years old) and 85 percent of the sample was male. The race/ethnicity breakdown of the study sample was as follows: 74 percent were African American, 24 percent were white, and 2 percent were other race/ethnicity. There were no significant differences between the groups on baseline demographics. The participants in the cohort control group had an average age of 35.4 years (ranging from 18-35) and 91 percent of the sample was male. The race/ethnicity breakdown of the cohort control group was as follows: 72 percent were African American, 27 percent were white, and the remaining 1 percent were Asian, Indian, or unknown.
The primary outcomes of interest were rates of arrest, reconviction, and returning to prison. Data was collected from the Department of Corrections and the Criminal Justice Information System. The models included the same control variables but dependent on each outcome, certain factors were statistically significant in the analysis. For arrest, statistically significant factors included length of time since the individual was released (those released for a longer period were more likely to be arrested) and age (older individuals were more liked to come into justice-system contact). For reconviction, length of time since the individual was released, age, average number of days sentenced and number of times incarcerated were all statistically significant factors. Lastly, return to prison included the same statistically significant factors as reconviction with the addition of prior charge conviction rate. Logistic regression was used to analyze the results to predict the probability that an individual will be arrested, convicted, and returned to prison for a technical violation or arrest.
There is no cost information available for this program.
Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:Study 1
Flower, Shawn M. 2014. Community Mediation Maryland: Reentry Mediation In-Depth Recidivism Analysis
. Greenbelt, Md.: Choice Research Associates.
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:
Charkoudia, Lorig, Bonita L. Cosgrove, Dennis P. Ferrell, and Shawn M. Flower. 2012. “The Role of Family and Pro-Social Relationships in Reducing Recidivism.” Corrections Today
Flower, Shawn M. 2013. Community Mediation Maryland: Reentry Mediation Recidivism Analysis
. Greenbelt, Md.: Choice Research Associates.