||An offender’s first steps out of prison are important steps toward a crime-free and productive life. The First Step Act of 2018 aims to reduce recidivism and reform the federal prison system so that those exiting the system do not return.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is playing a key role in fulfilling those objectives. We are working with our federal partners, specifically the Bureau of Prisons in several areas, including prioritizing who should receive evidence-based recidivism reduction programming and determining who may be eligible for early release into the community. We are assisting to develop recommendations based, as always, on empirical evidence: Which recidivism reduction programs and activities work best? How are these programs assessed, and can we strengthen the best programs, and improve or end the worst?
At NIJ, we understand that research, development, and evaluation cannot happen in a vacuum. You have to listen to those on the front lines and get input from all perspectives. The development of a new risk and needs assessment system is no different. As an example, and in cooperation with the Department of Justice, we have hosted three listening sessions to obtain a diverse set of perspectives about the development of a risk and needs assessment system.