According to a newly-released randomized controlled trial, the Harlem Parole Reentry Court has reduced re-offending and improved employment outcomes for parolees returning to Harlem from prison.
Coming Home to Harlem examines the Harlem Parole Reentry Court’s impact on the lives of participants, comparing their experiences with those who received conventional parole. It found that the court increased participants’ likelihood of success through pre-release engagement, the use of a validated risk/needs assessment tool, coordination of support services, and judicial oversight. Findings include:
Recidivism: Participants were 60 percent less likely to be reconvicted for felonies within 18 months of release than traditional parolees. They also demonstrated a 45 percent reduction in parole revocations.
Employment: 75 percent of participants found long-term employment or enrolled in school after release, compared to 45 percent of regular parolees.
Substance Abuse: Participants reported significantly lower substance use than regular parolees.
Procedural Justice: Participants’ perceptions of the criminal justice system were substantially more positive than those of comparison parolees.
The Harlem Parole Reentry Court serves approximately 200 parolees each year. The program is operated as a partnership involving the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Center for Court Innovation, and an array of local service providers. This study, the first-ever randomized trial of a reentry court, was underwritten by the U.S. Department of Justice and the J.C. Flowers Foundation.