“Coming Home:” Recidivism Rates Lower for Harlem Reentry Court Parolees


Ex-offenders assigned to the Harlem Parole Reentry Court upon their release from prison had lower recidivism rates than peers who were assigned to traditional parole, according to a study published by the Center for Court Innovation. In “Coming Home to Harlem: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court,” authors Lama Hassoun Ayoub and Tia Pooler measured the court's impact on parolees' employment, school enrollment, interpersonal relationships and criminal activity within 18 months of release, among other outcomes.

Researchers looked at the experiences of 504 parolees who were released from prison between 2010 and 2013, and randomly divided them in two groups: 213 parolees assigned to the reentry court and 291 parolees assigned to traditional parole. Participants in the study were predominantly male, black and Hispanic, and averaged about 30 years of age. The Harlem Reentry Court was established in 2001 by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Study findings include:

  • Reentry court participants were 22 percent less likely to be reconvicted within 18 months of release, and 60 percent less likely to be reconvicted for a felony).
  • Reentry court participants were more likely to report current employment or school enrollment than their peers (75 percent vs. 45 percent) and were also likely to report a higher income ($15,396 per year vs. $12,477 per year).
  • Only 33 percent of reentry court participants reported criminal activity since their, release compared to 44 percent of their peers.
  • Though both groups had a high incidence of arrest, reentry group participants' arrest rates were slightly lower (51 percent) than their peers (57 percent).

Reentry court judges generally gave positive marks to the reentry court program, with one judge writing:

“With a team of people forming relationships this enhances the chances that something will click with one of them – they all want them to succeed. This is new concept for most of these guys… society expects them to fail and this becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Read the study HERE.

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