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Program Profile: Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (North Dakota)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on August 08, 2017

Program Summary

This program provides enhanced reentry services to support parolees with successful transition back into the community. Services include chemical dependency treatment, psychiatric treatment, educational training, and assistance in finding housing. The program is rated Promising. The program was found to have a statistically significant, moderate effect on rearrest, but no statistically significant effect on revocation of parole.

Program Description

Program Goals
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) program in North Dakota is a U.S. Department of Justice- funded program consisting of three phases (i.e., institutional, transitional, and community) to help convicted individuals and eventual parolees positively adjust to re-entering the community. The program aims to reduce recidivism and revocation of parole.
Target Population
SVORI targets people imprisoned for committing serious and violent offenses and who will soon be granted parole and return to a single urbanized county (Cass County) in North Dakota. 
Program Components
SVORI consists of three primary phases based on the location of services provided (institutional-based, transitional, and community-based). The institutional phase begins when an individual who is incarcerated is admitted into the SVORI program. This phase includes assessment and treatment, as well as a service-matching component. Case plans are created with the Reentry Coordinator and Case Planning Committee. The case plans can include chemical dependency treatment, psychiatric treatment, and/or educational training.
The transitional phase begins several months before participants are released into the community.  During this phase, a community release plan is created with the Reentry Coordinator, who arranges initial appointments with relevant community agencies. The initial appointments are typically held within the first 3 days of being released. Additionally, participants must comply with conditions for parole, including the standard conditions of travel restriction, no victim contact, maintaining employment, paying required fees and fines, and community service of 4 hours or more.
The community phase provides services to individuals after they are released, to aid in successful community integration. Specific components of the community phase include assessment and treatment/services matching, treatment/services content, and supervision and case management overseen by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) staff. Parolees are offered assistance in 1) finding housing, education, and employment; and 2) treatment and transitional housing in a halfway house after successful reentry participation/parole completion.
Key Personnel
This program requires a Reentry Coordinator who oversees the entire SVORI program and is the primary contact with program participants while they are still incarcerated. Additionally, the Reentry Coordinator works with the Case Planning Committee during the institutional phase to ensure adherence to the case plan and in the transitional phase develops a release plan.
A Screening Team reviews the release plan in the transitional phase and makes recommendations to the Parole Board. A Reentry Parole Officer oversees the SVORI participants during the community phase. This parole officer oversees approximately 40 cases, but has much more contact with reentry participants than a normal parole officer. The Reentry Parole Officer ensures adherence to the release plan and has the authority to revoke parole.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Bouffard and Bergeron (2006) found that there was a statistically significant, moderate effect of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative program on rearrest, meaning the treatment group was less likely to be arrested than the comparison group in the 400 days following release from prison. 
There was no statistically significant difference between the treatment and comparison groups on the revocation of parole in the 400 days following release from prison.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Bouffard and Bergeron (2006) conducted a quasi-experimental design study in North Dakota that focused on services for serious and violent parolees with the goal of assisting them in in successfully transitioning back into the community.
Study participants were individuals who had been imprisoned for serious and violent offenses and who were due to be paroled and return to a single urbanized county in North Dakota (Cass County). Additionally, eligible participants had to score a 24 or greater on the Level of Supervision Inventory-Revised (LSI-R), a risk/need assessment tool. The study comparison participants met the same cutoff score on the LSI-R, but were released to other counties in the state that were not targeted for the intervention.
Study participants in the treatment group received the three phases of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) intervention. The comparison group received regular, non-enhanced parole services upon release.
There were 71 participants in the treatment group. The average age of treatment participants was 25.6 years, and 86 percent were male. The ethnic/racial distribution for the treatment group was 82 percent white, 10 percent Native American, 4 percent African American, and 4 percent Hispanic. There were 106 participants in the comparison group. The average age of comparison group participants was 25.8 years, and 79 percent were male. The racial/ethnic distribution for the comparison group was 79 percent white, 16 percent Native American, 4 percent African American, and 1 percent Hispanic. There were no statistical differences between the treatment and comparison groups on the demographic variables; however, the treatment group was assessed as significantly higher on the LSI-R, which suggests that the intervention group was composed of more “serious” individuals than the comparison sample.
Follow-up data was collected for 400 days after the individual’s release from prison. Data was collected through written program materials, personal parolee and administrative interviews, reentry program database, and the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s computerized case management systems. Statistical analyses were conducted using a chi-square statistical test for the outcomes of re-arrest and revocation.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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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
Bouffard, Jeffrey, and Lindsey Bergeron. 2006. “Reentry Works: The Implementation and Effectiveness of a Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 44(2/3): 1–29.

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Additional References

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

Seiter, Richard, and Karen Kadela. 2003. “Prisoner Reentry: What Works, What Does Not, and What is Promising.” Crime & Delinquency 47(3):291–313.

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Related Practices

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Following are 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 - 35

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Probation/Parole Services, Vocational/Job Training, Wraparound/Case Management

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center

Jeffrey A. Bouffard
Iowa State University, Department of Sociology
East Hall
Ames IA 50011
Phone: 515.294.6480
Fax: 515.294.2303