How effective are NCDAC rehabilitation, programming, and reentry practices at reducing recidivism and improving post-release outcomes?

Project started: January 23, 2024
Department or Agency: NC Department of Adult Correction

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Project Overview


The North Carolina Department of Adult Correction (NCDAC) and the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) hosted a research partnership interest meeting on January 23, 2024, to discuss this project. Click here for the meeting recording and slide deck.

Project description updated 4/12/2024.

This project has three sub-questions, which NCDAC and its research partners plan to pursue:

  1. Do incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who participate in institutional rehabilitation programs show improvements in rates of recidivism and/or in behavioral outcomes (e.g., reductions in disciplinary infractions, staff assaults, self-injury, etc.) compared with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who do not participate in such programs?
  2. Do incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who participate in reentry services and programs show improvements in rates of recidivism and/or other outcomes (e.g., increased rates of employment, housing, engagement in treatment, etc.) compared to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who do not participate in such services and programs?
  3. Do the answers to 1 and 2 above vary depending on demographic or other identifiable characteristics (e.g., age, sentence length, crime type(s), Security Risk Group (SRG; ‘gang’) affiliation, sex/gender, etc.)?

To inform continued rehabilitation and reentry efforts, NCDAC seeks to better understand which programs, opportunities, and pathways to prioritize for incarcerated and community-supervised populations. NCDAC aims to generate internal data to better inform the agency on “evidence-based” rehabilitation and reentry services and on common correctional trends that the agency already uses. As NCDAC continues to prioritize correctional programming and services, the agency hopes to identify and provide the most effective programs, services, and practices to all incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals who could benefit from those programs, services, and practices.

NCDAC identified this research question through the NCDAC and OSP partnership, which is a broader strategic effort, to develop NCDAC's Priority Questions Research Agenda. This process included feedback from internal and external stakeholders who discussed in listening sessions and indicated on surveys that understanding the effectiveness of the agency’s rehabilitation and reentry services should be the top priority for NCDAC.

Anticipated deliverables

  • Reports and presentations to NCDAC, specifically, to Division of Rehabilitation and Reentry leadership.
  • Analytical results, specific to programs/services or types of programs/services, assessing the impacts on/associations with desired outcomes.
  • Specific policy recommendations and operational guidance that includes which programs/services/practices are most efficacious, which may not be, and how to align program/services/practice implementation with the groups most likely to benefit from them.
  • Peer-reviewed publications to the extent feasible and appropriate.

Planned use of results

NCDAC will use the results of this project to inform policy and procedure as well as general operating decisions for programs, services, and practices. The overarching purpose of this project is to establish an evidence rationale, using North Carolina data and resources, to support the identification, delivery, modification, expansion, and/or elimination of rehabilitation and reentry programs and services.


NCDAC has relevant programmatic and demographic data that the researcher/s will have access to in order to help answer the questions. Those data include, for incarcerated individuals:

  • Demographic data
  • Custody classification assignment data
  • Disciplinary infractions
  • Health-related outcomes
  • Programmatic assignment, completion, and amount of program/service participation for incarcerated and community supervision populations
  • Education and employment outcomes from the NC Common Follow-up System (CFS)

The project is in progress.

We plan to post results and deliverables when the project is complete. In the meantime, we welcome questions about the project.

Project point of contact

Charles Mautz

Director of Rehabilitation Services, Division of Rehabilitation and Reentry

NC Department of Adult Correction

Project Team

NC Department of Adult Correction

NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

NC Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division (LEAD)

NC Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission

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