“Safe Streets and Second Chances,” backed by the Charles Koch Foundation, will study reentry strategies in four states. A Dallas-based version of the study starts on April 16 and will last 15 months.
Backed by the White House and funded by $4 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, a new way to introduce former inmates back into society will soon be tested in Dallas, reports the Dallas Morning News. “Safe Streets and Second Chances,” a randomized prison re-entry pilot program, will measure how to reduce recidivism and lower costs by providing former offenders with individually tailored services to help keep them from falling back into a life of crime. The study starts April 16 and last 15 months. About 1,100 former inmates exiting 40 prisons across four states, including Florida, Louisiana and Texas, will be enrolled. In Texas, the program will be tested in Hood and Hunt counties in addition to Dallas. Doug Deason, a Dallas investor and GOP megadonor, hopes the study will yield a re-entry model that will one day be scalable in red and blue states, urban and rural areas.
Carrie Pettus-Davis of Washington University in St. Louis will lead the program. Her methodology for the study is based on “five key ingredients to successful re-entry” for every ex-offender — healthy thinking patterns, meaningful work trajectories, effective coping strategies, positive social engagement and positive interpersonal relationships. Research teams will provide one group of participants with personalized services that will be tweaked based on individual need. The other group will be given services already available locally. The researchers will measure whether and by how much specialized services result in a marked improvement in quality of life and reduce recidivism. Every year, up to 14,000 ex-inmates return home to the Dallas area. One in five people released from Texas prisons end up back there within three years. Christina Crain, a former Texas prison official who operates Unlocking DOORS, a re-entry services network based in Dallas, said the state can do better and hopes Safe Streets and Second Chances can help.