By AIF Staff
January 21, 2020
One of the missions of the American Idea Foundation is to identify policies that expand opportunity for Americans and shine a light on them. This includes expanding opportunities for those individuals who are trying to get their lives back on track following interactions with the criminal justice system.
While there is no question that we must respect the rule of law, there is a growing consensus that the federal government can and should develop policies which ease individuals’ reentry into society. There is also a growing body of evidence and evaluations about how best the federal government can accomplish this. Given the American Idea Foundation’s emphasis on expanding evidence-based public policies with a track record of success, our President, Speaker Paul Ryan, took the opportunity to pen a foreword for a report, produced by the American Enterprise Institute, entitled: Rethinking Reentry.
The report details some of the innovative solutions being advanced to reform our criminal justice system and ease individuals’ transition back into society. In the foreword, Ryan, who also serves as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, highlighted the First Step Act, which reformed our criminal justice system in a bipartisan way in 2018 and noted that the report’s authors “provide policymakers with the knowledge they need to understand what does and does not work in anti-recidivism efforts.”
As Ryan further explained:
“This volume provides a path forward on new ways to provide risk assessment, which is a key concern to policymakers. Importantly, it also takes on the decidedly less glamorous work of ensuring fidelity in program implementation. Evidence that new programs work is only as good as the faithful replication of program content by program implementers. This volume also identifies best practices on ensuring faithful replication of reentry programs. Finally, this volume ties it all together with a new model for prisoner reentry. Brent Orrell provides a road map to federal and state policymakers for a new approach to anti-recidivism. This new approach unifies a number of methodologies—such as case management, cognitive behavioral therapy, and substance abuse treatment. While modest in initial scope by cautiously calling for an experimental approach with rigorous evaluation, it calls for large-scale reform in how we approach prisoner reentry. If pursued and successful, it could fundamentally shift how we deliver prisoner reentry services in America.”
For those interested in expanding opportunity for those in need, and for those committed to fixing our criminal justice system, the entire report is worth a read and is accessible here.