An Evaluation of the Boston Reentry Initiative

September 16, 2008
Anthony A. Braga (Senior Research Associate, Harvard Kennedy School), Anne M. Piehl (Associate Professor, Rutgers University) and David Hureau (Research Associate, Harvard Kennedy School)

Despite the high level of funding and policy interest in prisoner reentry, there is still little rigorous scientific evidence to guide jurisdictions in developing reentry programs to enhance public safety, particularly for managing those who pose the greatest safety risks. The Boston Reentry Initiative (BRI) is an interagency initiative to help transition violent adult offenders released from the local jail back to their Boston neighborhoods through mentoring, social service assistance, and vocational development. This study uses a quasi-experimental design and survival analyses to evaluate the effects of the BRI on the subsequent recidivism of program participants relative to an equivalent control group. We find that the BRI was associated with significant reductions – on the order of 30 percent – in the overall and violent arrest failure rates.


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