Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

William W. Johnson

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Lisa S. Nored

Committee Member 2 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 3

Mary K. Evans

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

Over the years, prison populations have varied extensively. For the first time in over 30 years, national prison populations began to decrease in 2010. While there are a number of factors influencing this trend, part of such decrease has been the result of changing parole practices. In attempts to respond to the growing parole population and reduce recidivism among parolees, the U.S. court system has begun implementing reentry courts. The current study sought to evaluate the implementation well as pro-active application of evidence-based practices among three reentry court program sites. Three federal reentry courts in a southern district of federal probation in a southern state were selected for the purposes of this study.

A total of 22 semi-structured interviews were conducted on graduates of the reentry court programs (n = 13) and contextual stakeholders (n = 9) in the reentry court process. Additionally, a review of each program site materials as well as on-site observations was conducted for data analysis. By comparing and contrasting the perceptions of graduates as well as stakeholders, conducting on-site observations, and reviewing program materials, the current study provided insight into what works in these programs. Particular attention was also given to assessing the effectiveness of such practices as well as challenges faced by both practitioners and policymakers in implementing what has been deemed an effective evidence-based practice— reentry court.

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