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Program Profile: San Diego (Calif.) Prisoner Reentry Program

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on July 31, 2017

Program Summary

The program, established by Senate Bill 618, was designed to educate and rehabilitate incarcerated nonviolent felons in an effort to reduce recidivism and revocations to prison. The program is rated No Effects. There was a small but statistically significant impact on program participants’ rates of rearrest. But there was no statistically significant differences on reconviction and return to prison rates between program participants and those who were not in the program.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The San Diego Prisoner Reentry Program was designed to provide case management, education, and rehabilitative services to incarcerated individuals convicted of nonviolent drug and property offenses so that they could successfully complete the conditions of their parole following release from prison. The voluntary program was established by Senate Bill 618 (SB 618). The target population was individuals who had been convicted of nonviolent felony offenses and were released to parole supervision in San Diego County. The law was one of several efforts in California designed to reduce recidivism and increase the odds of successful reentry by developing a multiagency plan for individuals who had committed nonviolent felony offenses.
Key Personnel
The program used the following personnel to support education and rehabilitation of participants: a Prison Case Manager (PCM), a Community Case Manager (CCM), a Parole Agent, and a Reentry Employment Coordinator (REC). The program relied on the use of a multidisciplinary team (MDT), who included staff from Probation, the PCM, and a representative from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Psychiatry. In addition, the program used a Community Roundtable, which included the CCM, REC, Parole Agent, and other individuals identified by the participants who could help to ensure successful reentry.
Program Components
Program participants’ needs were assessed before they began their prison sentences. Four standardized tools were used to determine a participant’s level of risk of recidivism and the need for substance-use treatment or other services such as life skills or basic education. The MDT worked with the participant to create and execute a life plan, which was a formal and dynamic document that outlined participants’ needs and set goals for progress, from the needs assessment through program completion. The life plan was created with input from the program participants and individuals who were directly involved in their reentry.
The PCM and CCM provided advocacy and support both in prison and after release. The PCM met with participants of the program to ensure support and access to educational, vocational, and substance-use treatment programs. Meetings between the program participant and PCM were more frequent at the beginning and end of the intervention. The CCMs supported individuals as they were preparing for release back into the community. They reviewed the participant’s life plan and discussed steps for reentry. The PCM and CCM met as needed during the final months of incarceration to discuss programming and staff issues and to troubleshoot resolutions.
Upon a participant’s release from prison, the Community Roundtable met regularly to ensure reintegration challenges were addressed. Intensive case management was provided in the first 3 days after release to ensure stable housing and treatment-oriented services. 
Services were individualized to address participants’ specific needs and risks. Needs included drug treatment, vocational training and education, and addressing physical and mental health needs. Staff employed motivational interviewing techniques to try to maximize participants’ retention and facilitate their entry into substance-use treatment.
Additional Information
SB618 became effective as of January, 2006. On June 30, 2012, state funding for SB 618 was discontinued, and the program ended.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Mulmat and colleagues (2012) found that, at the 12-month follow up, 50 percent of the San Diego Prisoner Reentry Program treatment group was re-arrested, compared with 59 percent of the comparison group, which was a small but statistically significant difference.  
However, there was no statistically significant difference between the treatment group and the comparison group on rates of new convictions at the 12-month follow up. 
Return to Prison
There was also no statistically significant difference between the treatment and comparison groups on rates of returning to prison at the 12-month follow up.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Mulmat and colleagues (2012) conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation examining the effectiveness of the San Diego Prisoner Reentry Program on recidivism of individuals convicted of nonviolent offenses, which included drug and property offenses. On a weekly basis, the study authors assigned the first six individuals who were sentenced, met the qualifications of the program, and were willing to participate after July 1, 2007, to the treatment group. The comparison group included individuals who were eligible since the program began (in February 2007), but were never asked if they would participate. Group selection continued until at least 320 individuals were assigned to the treatment group and at least 320 were assigned to the comparison group. The treatment group received services through the reentry program. The comparison group received a pre-sentencing probation interview. While in prison, they had access to all prison services; upon release, they had access to parole and community services.
The 332 individuals selected for the treatment group had an average age of 35. The treatment group was 83 percent male and 45 percent white, 31 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent other. The 332 matched individuals in the comparison group also had an average age of 35. The comparison group was 88 percent male and 42 percent white, 34 percent black, 21 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent other. Propensity score matching was used to balance variables related to selection differences before conducting the analysis. The two groups were similar on age, gender, race/ethnicity, and measures of prior criminal justice system contact.
Arrest information was collected from the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS), and conviction and re-sentencing information was collected from the District Attorney’s computer system. Booking and local custody time was obtained from the San Diego County Sheriff’s computer system, while time in state prison was provided by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Recidivism was measured as rearrests, reconvictions, and returns to prison. T-test comparisons were used to determine differences between the two groups on outcome measures. The follow up was at 12 months following release from prison.
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Mulmat and colleagues (2012) found that the San Diego Prisoner Reentry Program was a cost-effective program and provided long-term savings, compared with treatment as usual. The average cost was $123,649 for a successful program participant, compared with $131,814 for the comparison group individual. The researchers concluded that the average cost per successful case was higher for the comparison cases because more of the comparison group returned to prison. The short-term costs of the reentry program resulted in long-term savings of an estimated $10 million as 183 program participants (17 percent) did not return to prison within the first year following release.
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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
Mulmat, Darlanne Hoctor, Lisbeth Howard, Kristen Rohanna, Elizabeth Doroski, and Cynthia Burke. 2012. Improving Reentry for Ex-Offenders in San Diego County. San Diego, Calif.: SANDAG.
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Additional References

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

Mulmat, Darlanne Hoctor, Elizabeth Doroski, Lisbeth Howard, Debbie Correia, Sandy Keaton, Kristen Rohanna, and Cynthia Burke. 2010. Improving Reentry for Ex-Offenders in San Diego County: SB 618 Third Annual Evaluation Report. San Diego, Calif.: SANDAG.

Mulmat, Darlanne Hoctor, Cynthia Burke, Elizabeth Doroski, Lisbeth Howard, and Debbie Correia. 2009. Improving Reentry for Ex-Offenders in San Diego County: SB 618 Second Annual Evaluation Report. San Diego, Calif.: SANDAG.

Mulmat, Darlanne Hoctor, and Cynthia Burke. 2013. “Addressing Offender Reentry: Lessons Learned from Senate Bill 618 San Diego Prisoner Reentry Program.” Corrections Today 75(4):24–7.

San Diego County District Attorney. 2006. SB 618 Program Overview. San Diego: Calif.: San Diego County District Attorney.
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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+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Aftercare/Reentry, Probation/Parole Services, Wraparound/Case Management

Targeted Population: Prisoners

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center