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Second Chance Act Follow-up Study

African man behind an iron grid
Exploring long-term impacts on participants from SCA’s 2009 evaluation
  • Funder
    National Institute of Justice
  • Dates
    January 2021 - March 2024

Long-term outcomes of programs that help justice-involved individuals return to their communities are important in our understanding of what works in reducing recidivism. To further examine this issue, NORC at the University of Chicago and a subcontractor, Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), received funding from the National Institute of Justice to conduct a long-term follow-up study with persons who participated in the Evaluation of the 2009 Second Chance Act (SCA) Adult Demonstration Projects. The study explored participants’ long-term outcomes, focusing on criminal recidivism, employment and earnings, and other indications of well-being, such as housing, family formation, substance abuse, and overall health status. 

NORC and SPR re-interviewed evaluation participants randomly assigned to either participate in an SCA program (treatment) or receive business-as-usual services (control). As several years passed since the previous data collection round, NORC engaged in an intensive locating effort before the start of data collection. To begin the data collection phase, NORC sent a letter to study participants reminding them of their participation in the evaluation and providing information on the current data collection activities. NORC field interviewers completed outreach activities with evaluation participants to encourage their participation in a follow-up interview. We  most interviews were conducted by telephone. 

In addition to the interviews with evaluation participants, NORC and SPR collected administrative data from public data agencies. We requested employment and criminal history records and linked that information to the survey data for analysis.

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