The Comprehensive Transition Planning Project (CTPP) applies research and technical assistance to understand the needs of people held at New York City’s main jail facility, Rikers Island, and the extent to which existing reentry services meet those needs. Its goal is to improve services designed to help incarcerated people return to the community more successfully. CTPP is a partnership of Vera’s Program on Substance Use and Mental Health and the New York City Department of Correction.
The research component of this project was based on both quantitative and qualitative data. The Department of Correction provided access to jail administrative records, and research staff surveyed men serving sentences at the facility and interviewed DOC staff and reentry service providers. SUMH staff analyzed this information to identify the reentry service needs of people at Rikers and common challenges that the facility and service providers encounter in recruiting and engaging people in services.
Currently, project staff are using the research findings to work with DOC personnel to design new transition planning strategies and tools. This component of the project will
- implement screening and assessment tools to help identify high-need clients for reentry services;
- design services tailored to the range of needs presented by jail population, including those who are in jail for only a few days, a group that is currently underserved; and
- improve the DOC’s information management practices to maximize the use of data in reentry services.
Why focus on jail reentry planning?
In 2009, there were an estimated 12.8 million admissions to local jails in the United States. Most people admitted to jail will return home after a few days or weeks—unlike those in prison, who are held for longer periods. People returning to the community from jail confront a range of problems related to drug and alcohol use, physical and mental health, unemployment, and homelessness. These make the transition significantly harder and increase the likelihood that a person will commit a new offense. Yet, compared to the wealth of research and practice in prison reentry services, there is little research on the needs of individuals leaving jail and the services that are best placed to support them in the community. CTPP aims to address this gap, working with the second largest jail system in the country to advance knowledge and create practical solutions to the challenges surrounding jail reentry.