Reentry Ready

Convergence Reentry Ready Project:
Improving Incarceration’s Contribution to Successful Reentry

The Challenge
The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of the global prison population – with a high price in human terms and a fiscal cost exceeding $80 billion per year. Recidivism rates (relapse of criminal behavior) within five years of prison-release exceeds 75 percent. The economic, social and other collateral costs to former inmates, their families and communities are significant and long-lasting.

America’s high rates of incarceration and recidivism are receiving considerable attention across the political spectrum. There is significant agreement, on the left and right, that now is the time to do something different about how incarceration contributes to successful reentry. We believe the time is ripe for a respectful dialogue among the various stakeholders involved in establishing federal, state, and local policies in this arena. Our fundamental question is how we can transform incarceration and reentry systems to maximize the successful reintegration of individuals back into society?

View a List of Our Stakeholders

The Project
Leading area for discussion is improving systems coordination to facilitate a ‘warm handoff’ from jails/prisons to reentry systems and resources that exist in the community. Our robust dialogue is likely to include, but not be limited to, the following issues:

  • Success metrics for incarceration and reentry: How should we assess the extent to which a system of incarceration and re-entry is succeeding, if we understand that system to encompass not only prisons and jails, but also related social service and public safety systems, and the families and communities they touch?
  • Holding systems accountable for results: What can we do to incentivize systems to meet (or even exceed) success metrics?
  • Scale examples of success: How can we share strategies in use throughout the country’s incarceration and re-entry systems where we see the kind of successes that the group believes incarceration should achieve? What stories underlie these successes?
  • Reform and transformation strategies: Given what we know about what it takes to achieve success, what strategies does the group see as most promising for leaders and stakeholders who want to move their jurisdictions and systems forward? How can we remove barriers that hinder implementation of these strategies?
  • Partnerships for action: What can the members of this group, and others in the group’s networks, do to advance the principles, metrics, and strategies that the group believes are critical to improving incarceration and reentry outcomes? Where are the key leverage points in each system and between systems?

Project Plan
In 2017, Convergence conducted extensive research and interviewed over 150 individuals to better understand the barriers to successful Reentry.

Based on this assessment, we recruited a preliminary stakeholder table composed of 20 individuals working in criminal justice and related systems. Additional stakeholders will be added to ensure that we
have a full representation of political ideology, geographic location, race, gender, role in the criminal justice system, and health and human services systems that support currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.

During 2018, these individuals will participate in dialogue sessions, which are professionally facilitated and designed to build trust, source solutions to systems coordination and implementation barriers, and craft a shared action agenda. Our stakeholders have committed to creating a community of practice and action where they will gradually take ownership of the recommendations and continue to work together after the dialogue phase has ended.