About the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

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Description of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

In 2003, the U.S. Departments of Justice, Labor, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services provided more than $100 million for state programs that facilitate the reentry of adult and juvenile offenders to communities from prisons or juvenile detention facilities.

This funding stream, known as the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), was a collaborative federal effort to improve reentry outcomes along the following dimensions: (1) criminal justice, (2) employment, (3) education, (4) health, and (5) housing.

Sixty-nine sites received between $500,000 and $2 million over 3 years to develop or expand programs that offered integrated supervision and services to offenders. The objective of the initiative was to promote productive social roles for released offenders and to reduce the likelihood of their return to crime and imprisonment. The initiative required a multiagency strategy for successfully moving prisoners from correctional control to the community.

SVORI had four specific objectives:

  1. Improve the quality of life and self-sufficiency of released offenders through employment, housing and family and community involvement.
  2. Improve the health of released offenders by addressing substance use and physical and mental health problems.
  3. Reduce recidivism through services, supervision and monitoring.
  4. Promote systemwide changes through multiagency collaboration and better case-management strategies.

NIJ's Evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

In 2004, NIJ funded a multiyear, multisite evaluation of SVORI programs. It was the largest evaluation funded by NIJ to date. The grant was awarded to Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) and its subcontractor, the Urban Institute, to conduct an evaluation of SVORI across the 69 grantee sites. The SVORI evaluation examined the relationship between access to reentry programming and a number of outcomes including housing, employment and recidivism in multiple programs in various states across the U.S. Subsequent analyses included data on adult males, adult females and juvenile boys.

Research questions were designed to determine the extent to which:

  • SVORI led to more coordinated planning and integrated services among partner agencies.
  • SVORI program participants received more individualized and comprehensive services than comparison subjects.
  • SVORI program participants demonstrated better outcomes than comparison subjects.
  • The benefits derived from reentry programs outweighed the costs.

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Date Modified: July 13, 2011