Adult reentry programs

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can assist unemployed workers and help prevent violence. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Assists people exiting correctional facilities in reentering community life
  • Begins during incarceration with programs focusing on barriers to reintegration such as life skills, substance abuse, and cognitive-behavioral support
  • Post-release support can include employment/work release programs, housing programs, and substance abuse programs
  • Treatment can take many forms, including individual treatment, group treatment, client and family treatment, case management, and a mixed format
  • May be undertaken voluntarily or nonvoluntarily

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)


Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice

Target population

Formerly incarcerated individuals

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Reduces rates of recidivism in some cases
  • Reduces rates of violent crime in some cases
  • Reduction in drug use in some cases

Keys to successful implementation

  • Partner with criminal justice agencies, corrections facilities, and law enforcement to identify and recruit inmates identified as being at high risk for recidivism.
  • Initiate job readiness training in a prison setting, while setting expectations of ongoing support after a participant is released.
  • Develop partnerships with a diverse set of reentry programs, including therapeutic communities, reentry courts, employment and work release programs, substance abuse treatment programs, housing/homelessness programs, programs targeting sex or violent offenders, and programs targeting females.
  • Tailor educational programming and vocational programming to the needs of individual participants, especially in cases where participants lack a job history, education credentials, or skills that employers may prefer.
  • Given that program effectiveness varies across settings, set clear goals for target populations before determining program offerings on treatment type (individual, group, family, etc.), curricula, types of reentry, and whether or not participation is mandatory.

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