From prision to community: An experimental reentry program for medium and high-risk prisioners

This research project focuses on prisoners’ reentry into the community in Catalonia. Prisoners with more risk of recidivism have not many chances of reintegration. The process of early release –through open regime and parole- can be very demanding insofar good adjustment to prison life, involvement in rehabilitation programs and having external support that adds value to the good prognosis are required. Legal and implementation reasons account for this requiring early release system. This system has the advantage of stimulating the participation of prisoners in their rehabilitation. However, it excludes from reentry programs a relevant part of the prison population and in particular prisoners with more risk of recidivism.

The research question deals with how to change the present system of early release into a more universal one that allows prisoners with more risk of recidivism to be released with some kind of reentry program. The international research is promising but not conclusive regarding this issue. There is some evidence that programs focused on high risk offenders have improved the reintegration outcomes and have decreased the rates of recidivism. Taking into account these studies and the possibilities of reintegration existing in our context it seems meaningful to elaborate reentry programs that may be implemented and evaluated to approach the reform of our system.

This project counts with the cooperation of different institutions concerned with prisoners reentry such as the Prison Administration, community organizations dedicated to prisoner reentry, and researchers in recidivism, desistance and reentry topics from the Academia and the Ministry of Justice. The research project has three stages: the preparation stage, were “A voluntary reintegration model for prisoners that are not early released” will be elaborated, the participation of the third sector will be managed and training for coordinators and volunteers will be provided. In the implementation stage, an experimental and control group will be selected at random among the targeted population and the voluntary reintegration will be offered to the experimental group, with the aim to achieve 150 prisoners that agree to participate in the program. The reintegration will start in prison and continue after release, with a total duration of one year. During the evaluation and dissemination stage, the program will be analysed, with quantitative and qualitative techniques and the results will be disseminated.
This project is useful in order to decide, on the basis of evidence, about the opportunity of implementing a universal model of early release as well it is aimed to provide knowledge about the factors and processes that lead to positives outcomes in the supervision of prisoners’ reentry.

This research has received financial support from RecerCaixa 2014.