Usually police are involved in the opposite end of reentry, arresting someone who will then filter through the criminal justice system into prison. A new paper issued by the National Institute of Justice suggests that police can take a more active role in promoting public safety. Community policing programs are gaining attention as a method to reduce crime. Jeremy Travis, Ronald Davis and Sarah Lawrence write that when
police engage with reentry initiatives, recidivism rates can be reduced.
Exploring the Role of the Police in Prisoner Reentry details how a large portion of reentrants are released into high crime communities, and offers a chart depicting the high recidivism rate within six months, one year, and three years. The paper offers recommendations on how police can emerge as a central component of successful reentry by working with parole officers, engaging the community, and offering resources and support to the 735,000 individuals released from prison each year. The paper cites the police departments of Boston, Baltimore and Chicago, which work with reentry organizations. Boston police work with the Boston Reentry Initiative (BRI), which saw a 30 percent reduction in the recidivism rate for those participating in BRI programs. The Baltimore Police Department is a part of the Baltimore Reentry Partnership’s “welcome home” panel that goes into prisons and meets with inmates expecting to be released within a month or so, and offers support and resources. The Chicago-based initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods is an example of how the police, service providers and community members working together were able to reduce murders in targeted areas by 37 percent.