Dr.Marlowe speaks out for Reentry Courts

Dr. Doug Marlowe, speaking in Boston this month on the latest research on reentry programs, concluded that  excluding reentry court,  most every state-of-the-art reentry modality had shown little impact on recidivism.

Dr.Doug Marlowe, Chief of Science, Policy, and Law at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), made his comments at a presentation for a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) sponsored Focus Group on Reentry Courts,  held on June 1, 2010.

While the presentation only dealt  peripherally with reentry courts, its  implications to the field were significant.  Dr.Marlowe’s message was that present coercive and non-coercive reentry efforts don’t work. Even when we use the most sophisticated programs and state-of-the-art technology,  they have not shown themselves to be appreciably better than no program at all.

Presented through a  logical progression of easily followed power point slides (attached below), Dr. Marlowe examined the failures of a number of reentry programs, culminating in the recent SVORI (Serious & Violent Offender Reentry Initiative) meta-analysis. Following the trail of $100 million and 2,391 participants over a 3 year period, the SVORI evaluation concluded that even the best non-court based programs showed higher re-incarceration rates than the control group (though rearrest rates were somewhat lower).

Dr. Marlowe’s conclusion (among others) was that returning offenders were not likely to engage in the highly structured and intensive programs  required for successful reentry, without graduated sanctions and incentives, the mark of the reentry court. While the jury may be out as to the ultimate success of the reentry court, we have reason to believe they will be highly successful with the high risk offenders returning  from our jails and prisons ( as the drug court model they emulate, has been extraordinarily effective when dealing with the high risk offender in the community).

[See  “Reentry of Drug Offenders”; Dr.Douglas Marlowe, J.D., PH.D ]

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