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Lessons Learned From SVORI: Program Director Perspectives on Implementing Reentry Programming.

Visher, Christy A.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Corrections Today Magazine. 69(2):92-97.

This article presents the preliminary findings from an implementation evaluation of Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiatives (SVORIs), focusing mainly on the final program director survey regarding lessons learned and sustainability issues. Findings indicated that the SVORIs were generally successful at program implementation. Most SVORI programs delivered services both prior to and after release. More than half of directors indicated it was more difficult to implement the post-release phase of the program. The most challenging aspect of delivering post-release services was reported to be existing agency regulations or policies that made reentry programming difficult to deliver. Staff turnover was also noted as a pervasive problem. Although most SVORIs established enrollment goals, many directors reported difficulty with enrolling a sufficient number of program participants. Stringent enrollment criteria followed by the voluntary nature of the program were main reasons cited for enrollment difficulties. Program components identified as making the most difference to successful implementation were cross-agency collaboration, the use of teams, and intensive case management. Although directors were reluctant to identify problems with program implementation, some mentioned that mentoring was difficult due to problems with recruitment. Challenges in housing and employment assistance for reentry participants were also reported. Other directors mentioned problems with implementing the restorative justice component of the program and problems with working with so many different agencies. Despite difficulties, directors identified pre- and post-release supervision agencies, employment agencies, and vocational training agencies as the organizations that contributed the most to SVORI programming. Although program funding was due to end in June 2006, several SVORI programs have engaged in sustainability efforts to extent their services. Results of the SVORI outcome evaluation are forthcoming. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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