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Monthly Archives

February 2019

Second Chance Act Grant Program

By | Reentry | No Comments

The Second Chance Act (SCA) supports state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law on April 9, 2008, SCA legislation authorizes federal grants for vital programs and systems reform aimed at improving the reentry process.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) funds and administers the Second Chance Act grants. Within OJP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance awards SCA grants serving adults, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awards grants serving youth. Since 2009, more than 800 awards have been made to grantees across 49 states.

Learn about the application process here.

Research on Offender Programs and Promising Practices

By | Blog, Day Reporting Center, Reentry, Uncategorized | No Comments

In case you missed it,  the story linked below includes excellent data on the importance of investing in community-based programs for offenders.

In remarks from June 2018, NIJ Director David B. Muhlhausen emphasizes both the importance of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) and continuing to improve results. He references several studies from the past 10 years or so.

Here is the link to the article.

Three useful takeaways:

  1. Reentry programs that reduce recidivism are more important than ever.  The federal government has invested more than $1 billion in these over the past ten years and has committed another billion over the next ten years.
  2. Program content and delivery should continually improve.  Early programs that support this initiative show some positive results, but not enough.
  3. Programs must track and report results as objectively and scientifically as possible.  This takes time but is essential to have the greatest long-term positive impact on the professional community.

Read about a current Randomized Control Trial for a Day Reporting Center program designed to reduce recidivism in this research brief completed by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in February 2019.

Research study validates early success of Day Reporting Center program from Sentinel 

By | Blog, Day Reporting Center, Reentry | No Comments

The Nevada Division of Parole and Probation, in partnership with Sentinel Offender Services, opened the first Day Reporting Center (DRC) on October 31, 2017.  Subsequently, a second DRC opened in Reno. These include classes on anger management, family values, employment preparation, GED preparation, substance abuse, and related topics.  The first class of 19 participants graduated from the DRC on May 23, 2018 (click to see an inspiring video of this event). Through March 2019, more than 155 people have graduated.

In February 2019, the Center for Crime and Justice Policy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, led by Director Willam H Sousa, Ph.D., published a research brief on the DRC program operated by Sentinel. This was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted among approximately 400 program participants. The group was selected from Nevada’s probation and parole program.  The study is ongoing.

According to the brief, the primary objectives of a DRC are to:

  • Reduce recidivism among at-risk parolees and probationers
  • Provide an alternative to incarceration
  • Reduce the cost of offender management

The results of this RCT after 12 months suggest that DRCs can achieve these objectives.  Overall, DRC participants (as compared to those who did not go through the DRC):

  • Exhibited better outcomes
  • Were significantly less likely to abscond
  • Tended to have lower proportions of new charges and violations
  • Were significantly more likely to be successfully discharged
  • Were more likely to attain and maintain employment and a stable residence

The positive results of these programs thus far are driven by many factors. Many DRC graduates comment on the importance of personal interactions and personalized services and programs they receive.

State Officials are Optimistic

According to Natalie Wood, Chief of Nevada’s Department of Public Safety, Parole and Probation Division, if even one person completed the DRC and committed one less crime with one less victim it would be a success. Thus far more than 150 people have graduated. Chief Wood estimates the DRC saved the state over $3.8 million in the first 15 months.


Melissa Starr has been heavily involved with the Nevada DRC program since the very start. As Sentinel’s Vice President of Field Operations, she has seen the program evolve. She has also seen how individuals have progressed. She shares her perspective:

 “The use of progressive methods as an alternative to traditional incarceration is highly effective with stakeholders who are invested in positive outcomes. When community corrections agencies pivot from a reactive to a proactive approach, data support the idea that providing positive cognitive skills training will reduce recidivism.”


Sentinel Offender Services has been a leader in community-based offender management solutions for more than 25 years. We support all stakeholders – the local community, the authorities responsible for programs and the offenders who are working diligently to reenter society as positive, law-abiding citizens.