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Program Profile: Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (Midwestern State)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on August 22, 2017

Program Summary

This program provides enhanced reentry services to support parolees with successful transition back into the community. The program follows the principles of the risk-needs-responsivity model by targeting services to those with highest risk, addressing dynamic risk factors, and emphasizing cognitive-behavioral strategies throughout the program. The program is rated Promising. The program was found to have a statistically significant effect on reconviction, but no effect on return to prison.

Program Description

Program Goals
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) program in a midwestern state is a U.S. Department of Justice- funded program designed to help convicted individuals (and eventual parolees) positively adjust to reentering the community. The program aims to reduce recidivism and revocation of parolees following release from prison.
Target Population
SVORI targets males and females 18 years or older with at least 12 months remaining to serve on their current sentences. Participants comprise individuals who were imprisoned for committing serious and violent offenses and who will soon be granted parole and return to one of three counties that host a designated reentry program. The participants must have an LSI-R score of 30 or higher, which indicates a high Level of Supervision Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) domain score. Individuals with an LSI-R score of 25-29 are considered for inclusion on a case-by-case basis.
Program Theory
SVORI heavily relies on the principles of the risk-needs-responsivity (RNR) model. The RNR model (Andrews and Bonta 2003; Andrews, Bonta, and Hoge 1990) has three core principles:
  1. Risk principle: The level of services should be matched to the level of risk posed by the individual who committed the offense. High-risk individuals should receive more intensive services; low-risk individuals should receive minimal services.
  2. Need principle: Target criminogenic needs with services—that is, target those factors that are associated with criminal behavior. Such factors might include substance use, procriminal attitudes, criminal associates, and the like. Do not target other, noncriminogenic factors (such as emotional distress, self-esteem issues) unless they act as a barrier to changing criminogenic factors.
  3. Responsivity principle: The ability and learning style of the individual should determine the style and mode of intervention. Research has shown the general effectiveness of using social-learning and cognitive–behavioral style interventions.
Program Components
SVORI consists of two primary phases: in-prison and community. The in-prison phase begins when an individual is within 12 to 18 months of his or her scheduled release-from-prison date. The results from the LSI-R assessment provide guidance for identifying an individual’s criminogenic needs and for making referrals to in-prison programs, particularly for those areas where individuals were assessed as having high needs. For example, if an individual scores higher in the LSI-R education/employment domain, he or she would be referred to the workforce development program.
During the in-prison phase, there are also in-reach efforts made by the individual’s community-based case manager and parole officer. During the in-reach, the case manager develops the case plan based on the results from the LSI-R. The same case manager follows an individual from the prison to the community, with the intent of securing a seamless delivery of services during the reentry process. The LSI-R is administered again a few weeks after community reentry, after which the case plan is revised.
The community phase provides services to individuals after they are released, to aid in successful community integration. Needs for services and referrals are made based on the criminogenic needs identified by the updated, post-release LSI-R results. A team of community providers (including the case manager, parole officer, and an accountability panel that includes community stakeholders) work together to secure long-term support for individuals. For those identified as being successful in the community, a graduation ceremony is held at 6 months post-release. Alumni services are also available.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Veeh and colleagues (2017) found that the treatment group that received reentry services through the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative had a 55 percent lower rate of incurring a new conviction, compared with the comparison group, in the 12 months following release from prison. 
Return to Prison
However, there was no significant difference between the treatment and comparison groups on return to prison in the 12 months following release.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Veeh, Severson, and Lee (2017) conducted a quasi-experimental design study in a midwestern state that focused on services for parolees who had committed serious and violent offenses. The goal was to assist them in successfully transitioning back into the community. Study participants included individuals who had been imprisoned for serious and violent offenses and who were due to be paroled and return to one of three counties in a midwestern state that hosted a designated reentry program. Additionally, eligible participants had to score 24 or greater on the Level of Supervision Inventory-Revised (LSI-R), a risk/needs assessment tool.
The treatment group (who received services through the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative) was matched to a comparison group (who received regular, non-enhanced parole services upon release) using propensity score matching on the variables of age, race, gender, months served on current sentence, prior months served, and community supervision. Additionally, comparison group participants were released from prison between July 2006 and June 2010, were matched on the 10 LSI-R component scores, and were not transferred out of state during their incarceration.
There were 467 participants in the treatment group. The average age of treatment participants was 37.5 years, and 74.5 percent were male. The ethnic/racial distribution was presented as a dichotomous variable: white versus nonwhite. The ethnic/racial distribution for the treatment group was 52.9 percent white and 47.1 percent nonwhite. There were 467 participants in the comparison group. The average age of comparison group participants was 38.3 years, and 77.9 percent were male. The racial/ethnic distribution for the comparison group was 55.0 percent white and 45.0 percent nonwhite. There were no statistical differences between the treatment and comparison groups on the demographic variables and scores on the LSI-R.
Follow-up data was collected for 12 months after the individual’s release from prison. Data was collected through the program database at each reentry site, the public database of state inmates, and with reentry program staff. Statistical analyses were conducted using descriptive statistics, bivariate tests, survival analyses, and Cox proportional hazards modeling for the outcomes of reconviction and return to prison.
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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
Veeh, Christopher, Margaret Severson, and Jaehoon Lee. 2017. “Evaluation of a Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Program in a Midwest State.” Criminal Justice Policy Review: 28(3):238-54.

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Additional References

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

Andrews, Donald A., and James Bonta. 2003. The Psychology of Criminal Conduct (Third Edition). Cincinnati, Ohio: Anderson.

Andrews, Donald A., James Bonta, and Robert D. Hoge. 1990. “Classification for Effective Rehabilitation: Rediscovering Psychology.” Criminal Justice and Behavior 17:19–52.

Lattimore, Pamela, Susan Brumbaugh, Christy Visher, Christine Lindquist, Laura Winterfield, Meghan Salas, and Janine Zweig. 2004. National Portrait of SVORI. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute.

Severson, Margaret, Christopher Veeh, Kimberly Bruns, and Jaehoon Lee. 2012. “Who Goes Back to Prison; Who Does Not: A Multiyear View of Reentry Program Participants.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 51(5):295?315.

Severson, Margaret, Kimberly Bruns, Christopher Veeh, and Jaehoon Lee. 2011. “Prisoner Reentry Programming: Who Recidivates and When?” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 50:327–48.

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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: 28 - 45

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Probation/Parole Services, Wraparound/Case Management, Violence Prevention

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender, Prisoners

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center

Christopher Veeh
Research Assistant Professor
Washington University in St. Louis
George Warren Brown School of Social Work, One Brookings Drive
St. Louis MO 63117