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Does the Timing and Sequencing of Correctional Programming Matter? An Investigation of the Effects on Recidivism for Minnesota Prisoners

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $6,352)

BJS's Visiting Fellows Program aims to facilitate collaboration between academic scholars and government researchers in survey methodology, statistics, economics, and social sciences. Visiting fellows have the unique opportunity to address substantive, methodological, and analytic issues relevant to BJS programs and to further knowledge about and understanding of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Fellowship applicants are expected to have a recognized research record or considerable expertise in their area of proposed research. Applicants must submit a detailed research proposal, which will be evaluated on the applicability of the research to BJS programs, the value of the proposed research to science, and the quality of the applicant's research record.

The program offers researchers an opportunity to conduct statistical research in a particular area of mutual interest to them and BJS, examine innovative approaches to the analysis and dissemination of BJS data, and interact with BJS staff to gain first-hand knowledge of developments in BJS statistical programs.

Each year the solicitation identifies priority project areas for applicants to consider addressing in preparing their proposals. For FY 2015, one of the priority areas included examinations of prisoner recidivism.

Under this award, the recipient of funds will carry out research dealing with patterns of prisoner recidivism. Specifically, the BJS Visiting Fellow will examine four research questions:

1) Does the level of program participation impact recidivism,

2) Does participation in multiple programs affect recidivism compared to no participation,

3) Does the timing of program participation and interventions affect post-release recidivism, and

4) Does the sequence in which programs are administered to a prisoner influence recidivism outcomes.

He will rely on Minnesota Department of Corrections (MnDOC) administrative data as well as BJS's criminal history data to explore these questions in his project entitled, "Does the Timing and Sequencing of Correctional Programming Matter? An Investigation of the Effects on Recidivism for Minnesota Prisoners."

Capitalizing on the program evaluation and risk assessment research recently conducted by the MnDOC the BJS Visiting Fellow will connect the data gathered from this research with the Minnesota prisoner data collected by the BJS in their most recent recidivism report. After linking these two sets of data on the 1,882 Minnesota prisoners in the BJS sample, he will conduct analyses that assess whether the level of program participation (no participation, participation in one intervention, or participation in multiple interventions), the timing of program participation, and the sequencing of programming among multiple program participants has an influence on recidivism outcomes.

The research project can help fill a gap in the correctional literature. Moreover, the findings could help shape policy and practice by identifying ways to further increase the effectiveness of correctional programming. And the results from the project could potentially improve the predictive performance of recidivism risk assessments in the future.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 16, 2015