New Study Shows That Re-Entry Programs Work
An editorial in Thursday's Times profiles ComALERT, the Brooklyn re-entry program founded by District Attorney Charles Hynes. The program, which was started in 1999, helps prevent recidivism through counseling, drug testing, and work and training programs. A recent state-funded study carried out by the DA's office and Bruce Western of Harvard showed that programs like ComALERT are successful in helping former inmates enter the workforce and stay out of jail. As the Times reports,
"Drug treatment, counseling and drug testing are cornerstones of the ComAlert program. In addition to being counseled and tested, participants are also encouraged to sign up with Ready, Willing & Able, a highly regarded work and training program offered by the Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization in New York...According to the report, ComAlert graduates are less likely be re-arrested after leaving prison and much more likely to be employed than either program dropouts or members of the control group. Participants who complete the Doe Fund work-training component do even better. They have an employment rate of about 90 percent, somewhat higher than the ComAlert graduates generally and several times higher than the control group."
For more on re-entry and the ComALERT program, check out DMI's May 2005 Marketplace of Ideas event on the power of restorative justice. The event, which featured San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, included DA Charles Hynes on the panel. Audio, video, and a podcast of the event are available here.