|Temporary absences (TAs) (i.e., furloughs) provide opportunities for inmates to participate in activities outside of prison for short periods of time and should assist in the gradual reintegration process. TAs may be escorted (ETA) or unescorted (UTA) and may serve reintegration purposes (eg. family contact, community service, etc.) or be for functional reasons (eg. medical, court appearances, etc.) To evaluate the overall effect of TA participation on outcome after release, groups of offenders who had TA experience (study groups) were compared to groups who had no TA experience (comparison groups). Groups matched on 11 variables were studied to determine the effect of TA participation on outcome on day parole, full parole and statutory release. Results suggest that offenders receiving reintegration TAs had better outcome within a one year followup period than offenders who had not received these TAs while non-reintegration TAs had a limited effect on outcome. Reintegration UTAs appeared to be the most beneficial to offenders in reducing recidivism. In addition, differential outcomes were observed for low and high risk offenders on different types of releases. The results support the need for gradual release programs in order to ensure offenders are prepared for full release to the community.
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