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Program Profile: Indianapolis (Indiana) Reentry Project

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

Date: This profile was posted on August 22, 2017

Program Summary

This was a reentry program in which individuals returning from prison were ordered by their parole or probation officers to participate in a 1-hour meeting within 90 days of their release. The meetings were meant to convey an intolerance for violence in the community and to allow the individuals to connect with service providers. The program is rated No Effects. The program was shown to have no statistically significant effects on the likelihood of rearrest and the time to rearrest.

Program Description

Program Goals
The purpose of the Indianapolis (Indiana) Reentry Project, an initiative under the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership (IVRP), was to: 1) help connect individuals returning from incarceration with available services and programs, and, 2) inform these individuals that they would face sanctions if they engaged in violence. To this end, the project aimed to improve social support while simultaneously promoting a message of deterrence through the provision of community meetings for returning prisoners.
Target Population/Eligibility
The program targeted males released from prison who were returning to one of three police districts within Marion County, Indiana: East, North, and West.
Program Components
Individuals returning from prison were ordered by their parole or probation officers to participate in a 1-hour meeting within 90 days of their release. Each meeting typically included between 13 and 21 participants and lasted 1 hour. The meeting was opened by either the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana or the coordinator of the IVRP. Following the opening, speakers included a member of the community; criminal justice officials representing law enforcement, prosecution, probation, and parole; and finally another member of the community, typically an individual who had spent time in prison and talked about how he had turned away from violence and was now working to reduce violence in the community.
At the conclusion of each meeting, several service providers described their programs such as neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, substance abuse treatment, job placement, and educational/vocational services. Service providers stayed after the meeting to speak to participants about their programs. The group delivering the message wanted to combine deterrence-based intolerance of violence with social support emphasizing linkage to services.
Program Theory
The communication of potential sanctions plus linkages to services and opportunities was indicative of the two theoretical bases. Specifically, the Indianapolis Reentry Project was interested in increasing the perceived likelihood of sanctions to deter criminal activity, particularly firearms violence (Kennedy and Braga 1998). At the same time, there was a commitment to increasing levels of social support for individuals who had been incarcerated (Cullen 1994). The meetings implemented in the project were known at “lever-pulling” meetings, derived from “pulling levers” deterrence strategy. Through this strategy, research on patterns of crime in the community is used to create a tailored intervention to tackle a specific problematic criminal activity. During these meetings, the message is made clear that if violence is committed, the appropriate sanctions, or “levers,” would be applied or “pulled” (Kennedy, Braga, and Piehl 2001; Kennedy and Braga 1998).
Additional Information
For more information about the relationship between the IVRP and the Indianapolis Reentry Project, please see the section under Implementation Information.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
McGarrell, Banks, and Hipple (2003) found no statistically significant differences in the likelihood of being rearrested between Indianapolis Reentry Project participants and the comparison group. 
Time to Rearrest
While the treatment group averaged an additional 50 days before being rearrested, compared with the comparison group, the difference was not statistically significant.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
McGarrell, Banks, and Hipple (2003) used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the impact of the Indianapolis Reentry Project on recidivism outcomes. The total sample (n=185) consisted of men released from the Indiana Department of Corrections. Three police districts in Indianapolis were selected for this study: East, North, and West. Between November 2000 and November 2001, five meetings of the Indianapolis Reentry Project took place in these three districts, with the location of the meetings rotating across the districts. During each of these meetings, one of the remaining two districts not selected for a meeting was used as a comparison district. Thus, the treatment group (n=82) consisted of the individuals who participated in the meetings, while the comparison group (n=103) consisted of those released during the same period, but in a comparison district.  
There were no statistically significant differences between the treatment and comparison groups on several demographic (i.e., age and race) and criminal history characteristics (i.e., prior felony arrests, prior convictions, prior times on parole, prior times on probation, prior times incarcerated, and length of incarceration). There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of their release location, as a larger proportion of individuals in the comparison group were released in the West and North police districts, and a smaller proportion were released in the East police district, compared with the treatment group. The full study sample was mostly African American (65.4 percent), followed by white (32.9 percent), Hispanic (1.2 percent), and Asian (0.4 percent). The average age of treatment group participants was 32, and the average number of months they were incarcerated was 24. The average age of comparison group participants was 35, and the average number of months they were incarcerated was 31.  

Administrative data was used to assess the impact of the Indianapolis Reentry Project on recidivism. Recidivism was measured as the likelihood of being rearrested and the number of days until rearrest. The study used Cox survival analysis, controlling for race and prior incarceration. The follow-up period for both groups ranged from 10 to 24 months.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information

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This program was implemented as part of the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership (IVRP), which is also featured on at Under the IVRP, a problem-solving approach was employed to tackle the reentry issues for individuals being released from prison. Under the IVRP, there was an analysis of information about the reentry population in Indianapolis, as well as interviews and focus groups with recently released individuals. As a result of these findings, the IVRP decided to implement a pilot project (the Indianapolis Reentry Project) that would specifically address some of the barriers faced by those leaving prison (McGarrell et al. 2003)
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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
McGarrell, Edmund F., Natalie Hipple, and Duren Banks. 2003. “Community Meetings as a Tool in Inmate Reentry.” Justice Research and Policy 5(2):53–2.

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Additional References

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

Cullen, Francis T. 1994. “Social Support as an Organizing Concept for Criminology”. Justice Quarterly 11(4):527–59.

Kennedy, David M., and Anthony A. Braga. 1998. “Homicide in Minneapolis: Research for Problem Solving”. Homicide Studies 2(3):263–90.

Kennedy, David M., Anthony A. Braga, and Anne M. Piehl. 2001. Developing and Implementing Operation Ceasefire: Reducing Gun violence: The Boston Gun Project’s Operation Ceasefire. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

McGarrell, Edmund F., Natalie Hipple, and Duren Banks. 2003. Applying Problem Solving Approaches to Issues of Inmate-Re-entry: The Indianapolis Pilot Project. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Focused Deterrence Strategies
Problem-oriented policing strategies that follow the core principles of deterrence theory. The practice is rated Promising. The evaluation found that focused deterrence strategies (also referred to as “pulling levers" policing) can reduce crime.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, High Crime Neighborhoods/Hot Spots

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Community Awareness/Mobilization, Community Crime Prevention , Violence Prevention, Specific deterrence

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center