The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Revealing the Stakes of Prison and Jail Reentry Intervention: Examining Engagement in Health Services After Release

Friday, January 18, 2013: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Executive Center 4 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Crime and Criminal Justice
Symposium Organizer:
Jeff Draine, PhD, Temple University
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: While intervention models and approaches have been described for what is termed “reentry” of people leaving jails and prisons and returning to community settings, few interventions have been subjected to rigorous tests of effectiveness or substantive analysis of the process or means of interventions. This symposium presents research from two NIH funded randomized trials of reentry interventions for people at risk for HIV and people with psychiatric disability. METHODS: Results are presented in four papers from two theoretically driven, mixed methods RCT studies of reentry programs. These are Critical Time Intervention for Men with Mental Illness Leaving Prison, and Teach Inside, Teach Outside, an education and empowerment intervention for HIV prevention in jails. Analyses include both statistical tests of experimental effects as well as in depth qualitative analyses of fidelity, process and context for intervention. RESULTS: Results focus on the initial periods of engagement during incarceration through return to community settings for study participants and interventionists and practitioners, who are often social workers. As indicated by individual presentation abstracts, the effectiveness of intervention strategies to maintain engagement after release are mixed, providing an opportunity for detailed consideration of what is effective and feasible in these settings. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: The process of release from incarceration and the profound health risks associated with it are often hidden from public view.  These interventions offer two explicit strategies designed to improve health and social outcomes for a stigmatized, underserved and particularly vulnerable population. These approaches provide theoretically grounded interventions that open questions regarding the focus of intervention, how success is defined at multiple levels, and even the limits of randomized trials in defining evidence based practices in many environments in which social workers practice.
* noted as presenting author
Prison Reentry and Mental Illness: Engagement in a High-Risk Context
Stacey Barrenger, University of Pennsylvania
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