Best Practice for Structuring Effective Reentry: The Role of the Reintegrative Continuum in Transitioning and Normalizing Confined Youth

Troy Armstrong, California State University - Sacramento
David M. Altschuler, Johns Hopkins University

Program development activities within the Intensive Aftercare Programs (IAP) research and development initiative led to a conceptualization of the community reentry process now being referred to as the reintegrative continuum. It is within this structural framework that the IAP model of intervention was implemented in pilot sites nationwide over a demonstration period of five years. This paper will explore the theoretical and empirical evidence favoring the division of the youth correctional system into three distinct, yet overlapping phases: 1) pre-release planning and associated activities during confinement, 2) structured transitioning spanning confinement and community reentry, and 3) long-term, community-based reintegration activities. An argument will be presented for viewing the reintegrative continuum as a structural best practice for effective normalization of high risk youth returning to the community. Strategies will be examined about how specific evidence-based treatment modalities and supervision techniques can be appropriately integrated into this framework through the use of an overarching case management approach. Implications for program development and evaluation will be explored.

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Updated 05/20/2006